How to Set Up a Nonprofit Organization from Scratch
Starting a non-profit organization is an honest idea, but the idea alone, is not enough to create a powerful tone to make a difference in the society. Setting up a non-profit organization, whether you want to help build your community, or your organization is involved in educational, religious or charitable endeavors, you will need to execute every step with the right approach to succeed in your ambition.
It is of extreme importance, you understand all the steps involved in the process before moving on. Growing and sustaining a non-profit organization may take great deal of determination and effort.
The information provided here is carefully written to offer general guidance on how to set up a non-profit organization. However, specific steps may differ for each state, and we recommend consulting with a legal practitioner or tax professional for detailed information and assistance. Here are some steps to follow:
Research on Community Needs.
Before your goals can be easily achieved, it is of greater importance, you conduct a needs analysis. Find out if organizations are already having the same plans or doing similar work in your community. The reason is because, it would be hard to get support if you’re working on the same page or duplicating existing services. It is also of necessity to thoroughly research the macro and micro details about your non-profit organization.
Building a Solid Foundation.
This is one critical step you need to be proactive and sensitive enough to take. A name is an identity of an organization, it entails and communicates your non-profit’s purpose, what group it serves (your target audience) and how it will serve them. In this case, it has to be meaningful. Also, the people who are going to join your organization will be interested with the vision, aims and objectives your organization intends to achieve.
Incorporating Your Non-profit.
Getting a formal structure will deliver credibility to your services. The corporate structure limits the liability of the organization’s officers and board of directors. The IRS requires organizing documents and governance policies and steps that are usually associated with corporations.
To simplify this, you can even hire a corporate lawyer who can represent you in all issues associated with the incorporation and other legal matters of your organization.
Gaining Tax-Exempt Status.
Apply for tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue System (IRS). To qualify for tax-exempt status, your organization must exist to further one of the purposes listed by the IRS, such as religious or educational purposes.
Note that, if you have listed a broader purpose in your organizing or planning documents than the one recognized by the IRS under 501 (c) (3) of the tax code, you may have to make amendment of those documents, so that they match the purpose recognized by federal tax law.
After the IRS has recognized your nonprofit tax-exempt status, you can also apply to be recognized by state and local authorities as well.
Funding Your Organization.
Funding your organization is of greater necessity. It begins with financial planning, which includes the aims and objectives of your project as well as the finances you’re going to spend on your organization, including the working capital and operating expenses.
Once are you are done with your financial planning, you may consider applying for grants. Government entities as well as larger non-profit organizations and universities may offer you grants that can help cover your operating costs.
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Career Province Team.