The number of charities is growing rapidly every year, so as you can imagine, competition is fierce. Like any business start-up, charities can go under just as quickly at any time so thinking about the whys, the wheres, and the whens of it all are just as essential. Want to know how to start a charity? Here are 7 steps to not only start one but to make sure that it is a success!
Step 1: Know your why and do your research
Don’t make the mistake of jumping into starting a new non-profit before you’ve thought it all through. Find your why – what are you passionate about? What drives you? This will be incredibly important to carry you through the difficulties and challenges of running a charity.
Next, do your research. Is there a need for your organisation? Or could you team up with another, existing non-profit?
Step 2: Draw up a business plan
Outline your vision and work through the steps it will take for you to get there; in other words, draw up a business plan for your non-profit. Think about in-goings and outgoings and your cashflow. Decide what is most important to you – maximising short-term impact and using the results to attract more capital to support long-term growth or long-term legacy and sustainability right from the start?
Step 3: Take care of the legal requirements
Your idea may be great and your business plan may be solid, but are you sure that it will qualify as a charitable cause? There are many types of non-profits so make sure that you know which bracket you come under before you proceed.
Non-profits are heavily regulated so make sure to tick all of the necessary boxes to ensure that you are complying. You’ll need knowledgeable professionals to help you run your organisation successfully, so put together an effective board of directors, especially those in the areas of legal, accounting, marketing, and public relations.
Step 4: Develop a fundraising plan
This is where marketing help will come in handy. It is essential that non-profits fundraise to raise the money to fund the organisation so a complete fundraising strategy will need to be drawn up. Who are your target audience? What events will appeal most to them? How much will the cost/benefit be?
Step 5: Put together an effective team
As well as your board of directors, you will also need a passionate and dedicated team to help you accomplish the mission you have set out to achieve. Find the right people (those who share your passion, understand your why and who have the same values) as these will be willing to invest time and energy into actively moving your organisation forward.
Step 6: Implement good practice from the beginning
To ensure success, start off how you mean to go on. This means good record keeping is a must (to avoid problems further down the line); always manage your risk with safe procedures and good insurance, and lastly, understand the opportunity cost of your time. Sometimes spending money to outsource and delegating tasks are key to making an impact and growing your organisation.
Step 7: Tell the world about the difference you’re making
Many charities fall down with getting the word out there, but that’s how you get more support, more donations, and more money for your cause. To do this successfully, make sure that you have effective strategies to reach your target audience (e.g. flyers, fundraising posters, giveaways etc) and just as importantly, a professional and easy to navigate website to direct people to.
Make sure that you are being cost-effective with your marketing collateral but at the same time, make sure that you are not sacrificing quality or impact.
Need help with starting your non-profit?