So you are inspired to create a charity. That’s great! Charities help millions of people all over the world every single year. While a desire to start a charity is the first step, there are critical steps that must occur between the dream and the realization of creating your charity. The Balance says that just as there is a high rate of failure among business startups, charities can go under just as quickly. That’s why founders of new charities must think long and hard about why, where, and when it makes sense to start a new organization.
Develop Your Mission
Before you do anything else, you must develop a mission for your charity. A mission is a clear and concise expression of the basic purpose of the organization: what it does, for whom, and what is the basic service. Missions should be complemented with specific, measurable, achievable, and challenging goals.
According to The National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the U.S. Many of these organizations compete with one another for funding to support the exact same cause. This being said, you need to clearly differentiate your organization and stimulate the same kind of passion in potential donors to your charity that you have for it yourself.
Build an Effective Board
Now that you have created your charity, you need to form a board of advisors. It cannot be overstated how important your board is to your nonprofit’s success. The Balance explains that the board is legally responsible for keeping you on track with your mission, helps you to secure the funds you need to accomplish that mission, and provides much of the expertise that you will need. Find the right people, get them on board, and keep them interested.
Forbes recommends soliciting money from not only friends or relatives, but also grassroots organizations, individuals, and foundations. Once your plans are complete you should make contact with grant-making organizations that are focused on areas that include your mission. Expect to make a significant number of calls, meetings, and presentations. This will take significant time and energy. It must be conducted in a professional and disciplined fashion.
In part two of this series, we will discuss what to do once you have created your charity. Now that all of the groundwork is laid, the hard work really begins!