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How to Start a Small Non-Profit

To say that it’s been a rough year is an understatement. This 2020, we saw a virulent disease take over the world. We are seeing the worst global recession in a century. Political and racial tensions remain at an all-time high. Climate change and its effects are ravaging the planet. A psychologist studied the mental health effects of the pandemic in adults from North America, Oceania, and Western Europe, and she found that one of the responses that came out a lot is hopelessness — and can we blame people for losing hope? All these headlines considered, it feels like fighting to do good in the world seems pointless. After all, regular folks like you and I don’t have the power to influence policy at a global level or to elevate the lives of the underprivileged for the long-term. Being overwhelmed by everything that’s happening in the world is valid, but we shouldn’t shy away from doing our part, no matter how small. While small-scale altruism may not benefit society at a global level, studies show that doing good has numerous benefits. Here is a step-by-step guide for starting a small non-profit, for those who want to contribute even just a bit to a just and fair society.

Step 1: Determine what needs you want to help meet

The first step is taking a look at your community and seeing what needs you want to help meet. You can’t just dive into the project and make decisions without the proper context and data to back up your actions. Conduct an analysis of the group of people you want to help and how best to help them. Once you have determined which group of people you want to offer assistance to, immerse yourself in their community so you can get a full insight into their plight. Conduct interviews and spend time with them their leaders. Lend a listening ear. Helping others is more than throwing a few dollar bills their way; it also involves fostering genuine and lasting connections. At the end of the day, while financial help matters, what they will remember is how you treated them, and the relationship you built.

Step 2: Write a mission statement

Drafting a mission statement keeps you from going off-course. Figure out what goals you want to meet and for how long you want your non-profit to last. Some non-profits can go on for decades, while others can be a one-time fundraising event for a short-term need. A good mission statement must communicate your purpose, the marginalized group it serves, and practical and tangible ways to help them. people inside a building

Step 3: Enlist the help of a governing board

Just like any business, a non-profit must have a governing body. The board will act as trustees to help make sure that the organization remains fiscally sound and well-managed. They will oversee and carry out various legal and ethical responsibilities to keep the staff and volunteers accountable at all times. The board of directors has what is called the fiduciary duty, which can be summed up into two: the duty care, which ensures that the board remains active in planning and decision-making, and the duty of loyalty, which assumes that the board will put the interests of the non-profit above those of individuals in the organization.

Step 4: Incorporate your non-profit organization

You shouldn’t neglect to incorporate your non-profit as it lends credibility to your movement and activities. Here are some steps you shouldn’t forget when incorporating your organization:
  1. Register for tax-exempt status.
  2. Get in touch with the National Association of State Charity Officials to register your non-profit at your state’s charity office.
  3. Comply with government requirements, like annual financial reports. Follow the rules so your tax-exempt status isn’t revoked.

Step 5: Leverage technology

Studies show that the most effective non-profit content marketers allocate 1/3 of their resources to content marketing. In an increasingly saturated digital landscape, we need to find creative and resourceful ways to get people’s attention. Don’t hesitate to enlist the help of specialists who offer digital content marketing services for small businesses. These people are experts for a reason: They know how to reach your target demographic, they know how to make sense of numbers and engagement rate, and they can help you achieve your goals faster than when you’re doing it alone. There’s nothing wrong with traditional marketing, but it may not be the most efficient way to reach your audience. You cannot neglect online marketing in the age of social media. If you have been blessed with business acumen, now is the best time to leverage your gifts in the service of others. Do it for other people first and foremost, but do it for yourself second of all. Doing good can only benefit you in the long run.
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