Many people have been approaching me lately with ideas or desires to start their own nonprofits. With over 1.5 million registered nonprofits in the United States, you want to be sure that there's a need for you to start another one. Check out my thoughts below on where you should begin if you're thinking of going into business for yourself and/or staring a nonprofit.
RBJ Community Consulting also offers free initial consultations to talk through your ideas and provide you with resources.
Identify your why
Starting any business requires discipline and commitment. You need to be able to articulate to yourself and others why you want to start an organization and why you think it will be making a difference or solving a problem. If you can't articulate your why for yourself, it will be hard to bring others along on your journey or get supporters on board with your vision.
Create a business plan
A startup business plan serves many purposes. It can help convince people to invest in or finance your business. It can persuade partners to collaborate with you. Most importantly, it serves as a road map guiding the launch and growth of your new business.
Things to think about:
Who is your target audience?
What are your goals for your nonprofit?
Who are your competitors?
What is your vision and your mission?
How do you plan to market your services?
What start-up funding do you have and what's your operating budget?
Market research will save you a lot of time. It helps you to figure out who your competitors are and if there is a need for the services you are trying to provide.
Is there someone out there already doing what you're trying to do (or something similar)? Thinking about the demographic or community you're trying to serve, do they need what you're trying to provide? Have you done a focus group or talked to people to get their input? Would it make more sense for you to collaborate with someone else already doing what you're trying to do versus doing something on your own?
Understand the process
You need to understand what it truly takes to start a nonprofit. Do you know what bylaws are and why you need them? Think about your Board of Directors! You need to have a diverse group of people who can be objective in their thinking and always be willing to do what's best for your organization and your clients. What do you need to do to register your business with the state you're in? What other documents do you need to complete?
There are lots of things to think about when starting a nonprofit and to be successful, you want to make sure that you prepare and plan as much as possible in the beginning.
*** Please note that there are lots of scammers out there that take advantage of people and charge hundreds of dollars to complete documents you don't need to pay as much for or can do yourself for free. Authentic website regarding state and federal business documents or registrations will often end in .gov.**