Start a Nonprofit Organization With the Key Elements You’ll Need to Succeed

The launch of a nonprofit is a lofty, yet achievable, goal. If you’ve found a cause you’re passionate about, and have decided that starting a nonprofit organization (or NPO) will allow you to help you achieve your dream, you must first lay a proper foundation. How do you start a nonprofit organization? Your wonderful ideas will have nowhere to flourish and grow into reality without proper planning and a solid place to begin.

A solid mission statement, detailed business plan and education on the ins and outs of running a nonprofit will help you learn how to start a nonprofit organization.

Vision and mission

Your first task toward your goal of NPO launch is to identify you vision for it and use that to create your mission statement. An effective mission statement will accomplish three things:

  1. The why: It will identify your organization’s purpose;
  2. The who: It will identify what groups or parts of the community it serves; and
  3. The how: It will include plans of how your NPO will do so.

A good mission statement will put down to paper the long-term goals of your NPO, and will be a place to refer back to when you begin the long road ahead. It will help you to remember why you began, and will continually guide your organization when you’re learning how to start a nonprofit organization.

Business basics

A nonprofit is essentially a business, and in order to not only launch, but to thrive and grow, it must be treated as such. As you being to take on the tasks associated with learning how to start a nonprofit organization, begin with the basics, as you would with the launch of any business venture.

After you write your nonprofit mission statement, focus on the creation of a solid, and well thought out, business plan. Use the ideals and values that you identified in your mission statement, and create goals based on how you see your NPO putting those values into action. When you start a nonprofit organization, set both short and long-term goals for your NPO, and involve your board of directors, or others who are working closely on the project, in the business plan creation as well.

Money matters

Before you begin learning how to start a nonprofit organization, research your state’s laws regarding nonprofit launch. Because laws and regulations vary widely from state to state, you need to know to the letter what your specific state’s requirements for a NPO are. Locate and hire a CPA as well, so that you are certain all of the correct IRS paperwork and filing has been handled properly.

Your NPO is also going to need plans to have a steady flow of capital to continue working on its mission. You must plan where this money is going to come from, and how you’ll cover the costs of running day-to-day.

As you work through these tasks, you’ll not only have put down a solid foundation on which to build your nonprofit, you’ll have begun putting up the bones of the structure as well. This will see you through to the next steps in the process, and toward your nonprofit launch.

To learn more about how to start your nonprofit organization, check out The Nonprofit Startup Guide; it’s a comprehensive guide that will give you the basics on just about everything you need to know.


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