There is something exciting and invigorating about starting a business. Creating something from nothing and having the marketplace value it is the endorphin that all entrepreneurs have an addiction to.
But as many super successful entrepreneurs will attest, there are many things more important than money. The lives of other humans, being one. You may have the drive, talent, and passion for changing the world forever.
Starting and running a non-profit organization is definitely not as easy as it might seem at the first glance. In fact, most people seem to think these organizations are run on pure enthusiasm, fueled by an honest need to serve the community, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. If you are an entrepreneur, looking to give back to the world, staring a world-changing non profit organization might be one of your unfulfilled dreams.
How To Start and Run a Non-Profit Organization
Starting and running a non-profit organization is a somewhat complicated process that takes a great deal of determination and effort. If this is what you want, your heart is definitely in the right place and you deserve a thorough, yet simple guide to help you get started. That is exactly what you’re about to get, so make sure to keep reading. We will dissect and break this process down in 5 simple steps.
Step 1:Do Your Research
If you’re already an entrepreneur and if you’re familiar with how the business world works, you probably know how important competitive analysis is. Obviously, there is no need to view other non-profit organizations as competitors, but you still need to do your homework and find out if other organizations are already doing similar work. How will you get support if you simply duplicate what others are doing? Try to be creative and look for a way to help someone who hasn’t been properly helped yet.
Step 2: Start From The Beginning
What is your nonprofit’s purpose and who is it supposed to serve? This is an absolutely critical question that you need to answer at the very beginning. This means you have to draft your mission statement in which you will clearly state three things: the purpose of your non-profit organization, who are you trying to help and how are planning on helping them.
Step 3: Write a Detailed Business Plan
Writing a business plan is absolutely crucial. The fact that you intent to start a non-profit organization, doesn’t mean that you don’t need a well thought out business plan. Writing a business plan will help you better define the “how” – it will help describe how you want to achieve your nonprofit’s mission. This is an important factor most people consider before donating to a charity – they want to know how their money will be distributed and who will it go to.
Step 4: Incorporation
Hierarchical structure grants credibility and, at the same time, limits your organization’s liability in the eyes of the law. Familiarize yourself with laws and regulations regarding non-profit organizations, for a start. You need follow the letter and the spirit of every law that may be of importance to your organization’s existence, not only to avoid being sanctioned by the government, but also to gain credibility in the eyes of the general public.
Step 5: The Real Work
Everything we described in previous 4 steps is just the foundation – now comes the real heavy lifting. Structure, system and policies, lobbying, fundraising, marketing, HR and employment issues, board meetings, tax withholding, government reports and everything else you can think of.
Does all of this sound a bit too complicated for you? That’s OK, because if you’re an entrepreneur, you must be pretty familiar with running a business and starting and running a non-profit organization is a whole different ball game. In order to give you a closer look at how successful non-profit organizations are started and ran, we will compare these two fundamentally different concepts that have many things in common. This will help you get a rough idea about what it’s like to run a non-profit organization.
Running a Business VS Starting and Running a Non-Profit Organization
If you’ve ever ran a business or at least, been a part of a business organization, of any kind, you know very well how important it is to have a hierarchical structure and a carefully constructed and well thought out business plan. However, this is only the foundation of every business – similarly, non-profit organizations also need to be properly governed and structured.
The fundamental difference between nonprofit and for-profit organization is the fact that for-profit organizations are constantly looking for customers to buy goods or services, while non-profit organizations want people to give and donate, instead of “spend”. What does this mean? This essentially means that there is no return of investment involved in the latter. Broadly speaking, the purpose of every non-profit organization is to encourage donors (in business terms – customers) to donate their hard earned money, while the main goal of every for-profit organization is to encourage customers to buy goods or services.
On the other hand, some things are universal. For example, businesses do market research and conduct competitive analysis, while non-profit organizations conduct market analysis to find donors. For-profit organizations advertise themselves through media, just like non-profit organizations do. Public relations, online and offline marketing, reputation management – all of these things are universal.
The end goal is different – for profit organizations want a sale and non-profit organizations want a donation. The approach, however, is in many ways similar, which means marketing can be pretty similar too. The bottom line is this: if you can run a business successfully, you can probably run a non-profit organization successfully too. The question is how much time will it take to master this art.
How Hard Is It To Start and Run a World-Changing Non-Profit Organization?
This may sound like a cliche, but as long as your heart is at the right place and as long as you really want to help those in need and give back to the world, you will find a way to run a nonprofit successfully. Successful entrepreneurs know where they came from and know that everyone deserves a chance to live a long, happy life. This sensibility and sense of empathy is what, in a way, helps entrepreneurs rise to the top in the business world – what you give sometimes comes right back at you like a boomerang. Help others, because you would want to be helped if you needed to be helped. The fact that you’re reading this means you’re at the right track.