How to Start a Non-Profit Organization in 6 Easy Steps

Learn the steps to starting a non-profit, including creating a mission statement, filing the right paperwork, and finding funding sources.

Non-profit organizations are a great way to help your community, but it can be difficult to get started. In this article, we will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to start your own non-profit organization.

1. Choose a mission

Choosing a mission for your non-profit can be one of the most important steps in establishing a successful and meaningful organization.

When starting a non-profit, it is essential to define your cause and purpose so that you can effectively communicate it to potential donors, volunteers, and other stakeholders.

To begin, think about the core values and goals that you want to promote. Consider any current issues in your field that you are particularly passionate about, as well as any solutions you can suggest. This statement should be concise and memorable so that people can easily understand and remember your mission.

2. Choose a name and logo

Choosing a name and logo for your non-profit is not just about creating something that looks cool — it’s about creating something that will accurately represent your mission and values. When deciding on a name, try to make it unique, memorable, and meaningful.

It should reflect the purpose of your organization and be easy to pronounce. Also, make sure that the name is available for use when you register with the government.

The logo should be simple, recognizable, and easy to reproduce. Consider shapes, colors, fonts, and other design elements that will convey your mission. Make sure that the logo is versatile enough so you can use it across different mediums like web, print, and social media.

3. Create your board of directors

A board of directors establishes the mission and vision of the non-profit, as well as oversees its operations. To ensure that you select the ideal candidates, define the roles and responsibilities that each board member should fulfill.

Additionally, look for candidates with different experiences and backgrounds, as this will bring a variety of perspectives and insights to the table. Finding people who have experience in non-profits and understand the legalities involved is a big plus. With these tips in mind, you can make sure that you create a board of directors that are well-suited to propel your non-profit forward.

4. Set up accounting procedures

Proper accounting is crucial to ensure that the non-profit operates in a lawful and well-structured manner, keeping track of all incoming and outgoing funds down to the last penny. It’s important to create a system that ensures proper bookkeeping and reporting of financial information, including donations, salaries, expenses, and more.

To get started, you will need to determine whether to use standard accounting software or hire an accountant to handle things. Once these decisions have been made, you’ll need to create a chart of accounts to track all the different types of revenue and expenses associated with running the non-profit.

5. Register with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization.

Registering with the IRS as an organization is an important step when it’s time to start a non-profit. This designation offers both tax-exempt status and the ability to receive donations. To begin, you’ll need to obtain an employer identification number (EIN), then fill out Form 1023 or 1023-EZ and submit it to the IRS.

The form will ask for information about your organization, including its purpose, structure, and finances. After you have submitted your form, the IRS will review it and decide whether to grant a ‘501(c)(3)’ status to your organization.

Receiving this designation typically takes several months, so be sure to plan accordingly.

6. Use social media to spread your message

Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube are great tools to spread your message and build a community around your cause. Establishing a foothold on these platforms will enable you to connect with a wider audience and spearhead a cause that can amplify the voice of your non-profit organization.

Additionally, by utilizing social media, you can engage with your target audience and create meaningful connections that can help you reach your goals. Your organization can leverage social media to share updates, and heartwarming stories of the people and communities served, and announce upcoming fundraising events or campaigns to drive donations.

Starting a non-profit organization can be challenging, but rewarding. If you follow these steps, it will be easy for you to accomplish your goal!