How does one start in the business? Is there a right answer? Suppose the problem isn’t how you start, but how you complete your establishment?
Let’s begin. Here are the six tools you need to succeed as a nonprofit:
There’s a problem when people start their nonprofits, and it surprises them that a Mission Statement has to be so important. It’s the lifeblood of the company, so of course, people need to be careful in what they write. Naturally, it should only be one sentence, one statement. You can enjoy all the commas you want, but it needs to be just that. To write it properly, you have to know why it’s important. It’s your goal, what you want your company to be. Is it a facility to house the homeless, is it a community that supports a library, what is it? And from there you can enjoy adopting it into your paperwork, and in case it’s not working for you, you can always vote a new mission in later.
If a Mission Statement is your action, then your Vision Statement needs to be your reaction. You’ve settled with what you want your company to be, now you need to decide on how your audience should act. Do they need to change their mind about a social injustice, do they need to donate to a third world country, will they become a beneficiary for an underprivileged student? Think about it, and marketing and management won’t be as hard.
I’m pretty sure you incorporated before considering the first two problems. Your Mission Statement was decided by your current group whose wish is to do things with tax deduction and a successful charity in mind. You wouldn’t be the first. And so, you incorporate. You go for a nonprofit in your state, and possibly a 501c3 status registry. Naturally, you’ll be asked “are you a charity or foundation?”, and you’d like to call yourself a foundation, but not distribute 15% of your revenue to other nonprofits, so you go for charity. You choose to either be a school, church, or “other” type of organization. More than not, you’ll be in “other.” You’ll need to explain what you’re giving away as charity, and though you answered education or food for the homeless, you’ll have to talk to the IRS anyway. This takes about three to six months, and will probably bother you in how slow it takes to process legalities and paperwork. Welcome to the nonprofit world!
Whether you like it or not, you’ll need to manage volunteers. Your company can’t grow otherwise. People need community service, they’re looking to build a new resume for a different career, and sometimes nothing has given them a better chance for their soul to grow, so they turn to organizations, like yours. Luckily, they are waiting for you on VolunteerMatch.com. Remember to write thank you letters, mention their hours and if they need tax deduction receipts from your organization. Any of your officers can sign for that. But in case you’re bothered by how much background checks you need to do, or surveys they have to fill out, tell yourself this: they are free employees. Who doesn’t want that? More than not, these people will make a better CEO that you’ll ever be, but instead you’re leading them. Best to give them the keys and let them build that community for you, and leave them with the right to vote by joining your governance committees. It sounds awkward, but from experience, they usually are your blessings in disguise. Also, treat them well. It’s easy to forget they’re volunteers, but thank them frequently, and your reputation will spread like wildfire.
For all the wrong answers, here’s where you’ll find it. Business law changes every two years. And just in case you’re wondering why Grantors are not paying attention to you, you may have to read the fine lines this site has to offer. From the Whistleblower Protection Policy, to your volunteer’s gender (and their sex), you’ll learn everything from this Guidestar. You’ll be amazed how behind you’ve been, and how many more perks there are signing in to this site. And in case you’re worried about all your private information may be treated, no one is allowed to look at your reports without paying a hefty fee. An account here will give you discounts and free offers from nonprofit sites that help other nonprofits grow, and after they share your info to Grantors, your accounting problems won’t be so problematic anymore. No one is left behind, Guidestar can make your business so much clearer to deal with. Enjoy the Grants 🙂
And just in case neither of these sites suffice your convenience, there is always idealist.org. Usually, people suggest this site first and foremost, when you start, but I’ve found more success with the prior two sites, and have returned to idealist.org for any last resort, especially when all hope seems lost. Idealist.org is your one stop for all of your nonprofit needs. Want to learn how the business works? Need to hire a CEO? Are you looking for a job in the nonprofit industry? Then come here. Volunteers don’t seem to react much in this site, but if you’re working more like a for profit company than a church or school, then please give idealist.org a try. See what works best for you, and don’t forget to do your research.