What is a nonprofit organization?
A nonprofit organization just as the name implies, is an organization that operates for the collective good of a social cause without the sole aim of making a profit. Its structural establishment is hinged on a legal adoption of laws provided by the region or environment in which the organization is founded.
The mode of operation is geared towards a collective, social, or public cause as opposed to organizations whose mode of operation is done to make a profit. From the vast stretch of the arid desert in sub-Saharan Africa to the ice shelf of Antarctica, daily, we are imbued with the significant increase in the need for humanitarian services across the globe.
The world has never needed philanthropic gestures as it does now, from the war-torn countries to the impoverished global communities in dire need of help, it’s a gap that has continued to widen and a crisis that will keep brewing if left unchecked. Starting nonprofit organization borders on some physiological attributes, an extension of the cognitive intuition embedded in the human psychological constitution.
Empathy drives the wheel of this initiative because an individual who wants to start a nonprofit organization must ensure that objectives are aligned with the intentions or motives behind the establishment of the project, giving priority to the result as this will provide clarity to investors and other supporting bodies.
Starting a nonprofit business has some guidelines and an aspiring individual seeking to explore these waters must have a defined goal and area of focus. Areas of focus can be educational, charitable, religious, scientific, animal conservation and so much more. Adequate research can help you narrow these options and broaden your scope of reach, providing you with useful insights for the launch.
It is worthy of note to understand that accrued revenue generated off these types of projects are not supposed to be amassed by founders or board members, it is committed to the cause of the initiative.
Steps to start a nonprofit organization
Here, we have compiled useful tips that will help you navigate this terrain of purpose and make this journey of human-centeredness worth the effort.
1. Be concise about your goals
There’s a thin line between goals and intentions, these two variables are interconnected, fusing to produce results. If the goal for starting a non-governmental agency is etched on the intention of profiteering under the subtle guise of championing a good cause, the organization will be steered in the wrong direction, one that might not survive the storm when it arises.
So, the goals should be as clear as water, with no hidden clause. If the goal is to reach a certain number of people with a lack of access to clean and safe water, then that should be followed to the latter. The need for clarity will only provide direction to the starting of the nonprofit group and assure intending investors of the genuineness of the organization.
2. Have a business plan
Nonprofit organizations should have a well-defined plan just as a profit-engendered organization would, its objectives should be iterated and furnished with as much detail, such as would give the public enough confidence to applaud the cause and the investors a better grasp of the nitty-gritty of its operation.
These organizations are legal entities, and an intending enthusiast must follow the steps required for incorporation and provide the right amount of legal backing for the business. Every feature of a business plan should be highlighted in that of a nonprofit organization as well, each milestone amplified on every page, deeply resonating with the ideas projected to the public.
3. Select cause-oriented team members
Starting a nonprofit organization requires a substantial input of expertise, time, money, and resources. Founders or initiators of this cause must select board members who are as enthusiastic and passionate about the organization as they are, fostering a synergy of interest and objectives.
Members of the team can either be volunteers or employed staff, but this disparity should be enshrined in the business plan so that anybody who intends to join the cause can have a perspective that is in sync with the set targets of the organization.
4. Provide the required legal structure
In every country, the legal requirement for establishing a none profiting business differs from one country to another hence the need to be at par with the steps to take in your region.
Research and visit the appropriate department and provide your business with all the legal structures required for its optimal function. Most none governmental organizations are exempted from tax payment, so, you can leverage this opportunity and start that humanitarian service tugging at the sleeves of your heart.
5. Identify the source of fund
Funding for a none governmental organization can become an issue if the initiator of the project fails to have a structured business plan, this is because a lot of these organizations are ridden with poor accountability.
Most of them get their funding from individuals, government agencies, private foundations, grants, etc. and since these donations are open, the recipients of these funds are expected to be accountable and transparent about how the finance is disbursed.
Starting a none governmental organization is tethered to factors such as honesty, trustworthiness, transparency, accountability, and openness. Staying through to these qualities will ensure the sustainability and growth of the project.
6. Functions of none governmental organizations
The formation and structure of these organizations are a function of its objectives, these reiterate the need for the founder and its board members to be conversant with the mode of operation. Organizations such as UNESCO, REDCROSS, THE ROTARY FOUNDATION amongst others have proven time without number that the stakes for achieving a successful none profiting venture are realistic.
The roles of these businesses are quite pivotal, ranging from strengthening international relationships across borders and countries to giving some people a second chance at life, these individuals or groups of people have brought succor to many homes and planted smiles on several faces.
So, starting a none governmental organization brings satisfaction that is harped on the number of lives that are touched by your initiative, reinstating your connection with humanity, and affirming your stance and objectivity.
It is a cause that is worth pursuing, its dividends are not just measured in numbers but in the changes effected in lives, one which will certainly outlive the purchasing power of any currency.