So, you have decided to start a nonprofit organisation. Perhaps you have noticed a grave injustice in the world and you are keen to fix it. Or maybe there is just a certain issue which you think should have a lot more attention than it already does. Whatever you motivation, there is no doubt that starting up a nonprofit is a brave and noble step to take. However, there are some common pitfalls, and you would do well to prepare yourself against some of them, just in case the worst happens. But there are also things that the successful nonprofits have in common. To get the ball rolling, let’s have a look at what tends to make a successful nonprofit organisation.
Remember Who Owns It
A lot of nonprofit organisations fail because those involved forget the very reason they went into it in the first place. The fact is, you do not actually own your non profit organisation. It may well feel like yours, and you quite rightly feel an affinity with it, but it isn’t technically yours. Any nonprofit belongs to the community in which it resides. This has some important consequences which it is important to get clear in your mind before you even start. You will never, for example, be in a position where you can sell the organisation. If it fails, its assets will be distributed to other nonprofits. This is important for one main reason. As long as you remember who owns it, you remember what it’s all about.
Have a Plan
Your organisation needs to run like any other business. You might not like to think of it in business terms, but it is imperative for its success that you do. This is another common failing. At the outset, mark out a very clear and detailed business plan for your nonprofit. That way, you will be much more likely to succeed. You will also provide yourself with some backup plans in case something goes wrong. You also need to start thinking about how you are going to employ people. Will they be paid, or will you use PNP Staffing Group to hire volunteers?
Anybody who chips in even a penny has a right to know where that penny is going. As a nonprofit, transparency is absolutely unavoidable. It is both an ethical and, depending on your location, a legal duty to be completely forthcoming about the running of your business. All of your financial information should be publicly available for anyone to see. Remember the first rule: the community owns the organisation, not you. For that reason, the community needs to know how the organisation is being run, and it needs to have a say in any future plans.
Fund, Fund, Fund
Once you are clear about the basic tenets of running a nonprofit organisation, your main driving factor should be funding. For your mission to be successful, you will need to invest an unprecedented amount of effort into your organisation. Spend all your time thinking of ways to source funding for the business. Before long, with any hope, you will be making a real difference to the people around you.