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How to Start Your Own Nonprofit Organization

Are you passionate about improving your community? Do you desire to make a difference in your community and the world at large? If so, then starting a nonprofit could be the solution to your desire.“If you have a desire to uplift and make a difference in your community, venture into something that will address your community’s needs and concerns”, - advises John Ludovic, a community mobilizer.

 A nonprofit organization is not meant to make profits as the name suggests. This implies that any profits accruing from it are not shared among members of the organization.

A non-profit organization is run like any other business in that there are rules, organizational processes, and laws that must be adhered to.

The National Center for Charitable Statistics shows that the number of registered nonprofits in the US is more than 1 million.Among the registered nonprofit organizations are community charities, private organization, and other types of nonprofit societies.

Although your nonprofit might have staffs, the revenue that is left is used mainly for supporting the aim for which the nonprofit was founded. When you decide to form your own non-profit organization, you must understand that every state has its own factors to be taken into account when starting one. Each state differs in the way they register nonprofit corporations so it is imperative to seek advice from the right office, get the right registration documents, and ensure to adhere to the state’s rules and regulations.

Before we go further, you should first ask yourself these questions:

  • Are there other organizations doing the same work as you intend to do in your community? You can get the answer to this by doing some research in your community.
  • What kind of programs and services will your nonprofit provide your community with?
  • What does it take to have your nonprofit up and running
  • Will you need employees or volunteers?
  • Are you aware of the laws governing non-profits in your state?
  • Have you ever worked for any similar nonprofits similar to the one you want to start before?

Having clear answers to the above questions will give you a smooth sailing of your process of forming your own nonprofit organization.

In this post, we will help you with what you should do when you want to start your own nonprofit organization. But before that, let’s find out what a nonprofit organization is.

What is a Nonprofit Organization?

A Nonprofit organization is an association, a charity, a cooperative or a voluntary organization that is formed to provide programs and services that help to further cultural, educational, religious and professional objectives. A nonprofit’s funds are provided by its founders, trustees and other interested parties but no funds are repaid back to the contributors. The extra profit obtained is cycled back to the organization to further achieve its mission.

If you are passionate about starting your own nonprofit, follow these steps below.


1. How to start your own nonprofit organization: Research.

This step is obvious; there is no venture that can be successful without research. Today, there is a handful nonprofit corporation worldwide and this makes it difficult to ascertain that your idea is unique. First, you need to research the existing nonprofits so that you don’t start something that was already started by someone somewhere.

The research will help you have an idea of what is required for your specific organization.  Ask yourself if there is any need for such an organization in your community, where you will get startup funding as well as operational funding to sustain your organization and many other important questions.

If you find out that there is a need for such an organization and you have a source of funding, then you are good to go.


2. Find an appropriate name for your organization

Every nonprofit must have a name and the name must clearly be defined. Note that name requirement differs in every state so it is good to find out from your state’s guidelines on what is the appropriate name for your organization. When naming your organization, ensure to pay attention to words or lettersyou use, a simple mistake in the words of your organization’s name can bring harm to your organization. Your name should be unique it should not be similar to the already registered nonprofits. Ensure the name of your organization is relevant to your organization’s objectives.


3. Gather your team members

Here, you must make sure to organize a team of like-minded people, people who are ready to accomplish the same goal. Having a team that is motivated and one that has a desire to achieve one agenda is crucial. Have a list of what each member of your team will do for the success of your nonprofit. Every member of your team should have his or her duties from the top to the bottom level of management.


4. Write a business plan

A nonprofit is the same as a business so you must write a solid business plan and work towards attaining its implementation. A business plan is an important tool if you are going to seek funding from donors and the government, and will also be helpful for recruiting volunteers and board members. You can find resources online that can help you through the process of writing a business plan.


5. State your mission and vision

To ensure everyone is working towards achieving the same goals it is imperative to define your organization’s mission and vision statement. What is your organization aiming to achieve? What needs is your organization addressing? All these must be stated in the initial phase.


6. Incorporate your nonprofit and have it registered with legal entities

Every nonprofit startup has some paperwork. Find out how to register your nonprofit from your state offices and follow the due process to the latter.


7. Start fundraising for your cause

You have now registered your nonprofit organization, you now head to the fundraising stage. This is the bread and butter of your organization. Ensure you are clear about your fundraising efforts.



If you find that the above steps sound unattainable, you may opt a different route to starting your nonprofit. You may consider volunteering your services to other established nonprofits with the same mission as yours or those that are yet to be established in your community. These organizations might act as your fiscal sponsor thus enabling you to seek grants under their task exempt status and start you own nonprofit organization.


Page last edited May 18, 2018 History

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