Starting a non-profit organization can be one of the most rewarding career paths to choose. Giving back to charitable causes and to those less fortunate in the world is fulfilling and honorable, to say the least, but still needs to be treated as a serious business. Although the purpose of the organization is not to harvest income from the revenue generated, it doesn’t mean the balance sheet is less important. A profit still needs to be made.
Charities need to make money to be able to support their chosen causes and will need to employ staff to help achieve those fundraising targets. Like any business starting its journey, it’s crucial to have a plan in place and a fundamental understanding of how goals will be achieved.
Learn the basics of business
Having a basic understanding of how businesses operate is a good place to start which may require further education and learning. This does not necessarily mean plans need to be put on hold as many institutions now offer remote courses that can be completed away from campus and alongside any current work commitments.
Suffolk University Online offers flexible courses that can be tailored to suit any schedule while providing an invaluable set of skills that can be transferred into the real world. Expand knowledge on business agility and the constant need to adapt. Get to grips with financial operations and management, a crucial tool in the fundraising world.
Choose your charitable purpose
Even non-profit organizations need a niche angle, and market research will be required to ensure the right path is taken. If another charity is already supporting the same cause, it may be difficult to raise further awareness and support. Find an area that is seriously lacking in funding that would benefit massively from fresh awareness and donations.
Register and apply for tax-exempt status
When the organization’s direction of fundraising has been defined, register the business and apply for tax-exempt status with the government. There are significant differences between profit and non-profit when it comes to tax, so it is important to get this part right in order to generate the most financial support for the charitable cause.
Set achievement targets and goals
Develop a fundraising framework and decipher how charitable funds will be raised. This is a fundamental tool in realizing what will be needed to reach a specific goal. From minor events such as local bake sales to a large annual charity auction, it’s important to get a calendar in place and ideas on the table.
Market your organization and spread the word
The higher the profile of the non-profit, the greater awareness it will achieve. Spending money on marketing schemes initially will pay dividends later on if done correctly. Create campaigns that hit home and give donators a clear understanding of why the funds are necessary and truly needed. Have merchandise produced and create social media accounts; you don’t necessarily need a huge budget to spread the word.