What Do You Need To Know To Start a Nonprofit?

If you have the desire and passion to start your own nonprofit organization, the process could be a bit…
a box with a sign on it

If you have the desire and passion to start your own nonprofit organization, the process could be a bit overwhelming. If you have the motivation and the drive, however, you can soon be on your way to doing the most good for your cause. In many ways starting a nonprofit organization is similar to starting a corporation or business.

To be a legitimate non-profit, though, there will be a few extra steps. With more than 1.5 million registered nonprofit organizations in the United States, you will want to make sure that you are set up for success to carve out a piece of this crowded market. Let’s take a look at some of the things that you need to do to start a nonprofit.

Engage the community.


It is no secret that securing donations and successful fundraising will be the linchpin of your nonprofit organization. You will need to find ways to engage people and secure funds to operate and make an impact on your cause. The most successful nonprofits have strategies and plans for reaching out to the community and leaning on them for support. Many have found that a p2p platform (peer-to-peer network) that facilitates community engagement has been the key to successful and innovative fundraising.

p2p network offers advocacy, fundraising, email, and data management support. These platforms also lighten your workload by allowing supporters, team members, and other third-party individuals to create, share, and manage personal event pages with built-in marketing tools. A p2p network helps to create a support system among all of your stakeholders and supporters. Employing a flexible, customizable, and innovative engagement platform will help do the most good by increasing your “customer experience” and raising awareness and funds for your organization.

Create your nonprofit.

Once you’ve made a plan for raising money and keeping your community engaged, you should start the business of building your nonprofit corporation. You will have to file documents, draft bylaws, hold official meetings and register your charity. Similar to starting a business, you will have to bring your nonprofit in line with all state and federal regulations. “Articles of Incorporation” are different in major US cities and states, but at a minimum, you must provide your nonprofit’s name, registered agent, and incorporator signature. You might also be required to provide a list of directors, business purposes, and more. If you are interested in filing for federal tax-exempt status, your articles of incorporation will also need to go through the IRS’s “organizational test,” as described in Publication 557.

After you’ve filled the required paperwork for your nonprofit, you will need to approve by-laws or governing rules. If you wish to apply for federal tax exemptions, you’ll be required to attach your bylaws to your IRS application. Once this is complete, you will need to hold an official meeting to adopt the rules and elect any officers needed to run your nonprofit. Finally, if your organization will involve fundraising and donations, you might have to register as a charity. If required, this step usually has to be done before you accept any donations. Outside of some state and local laws, there could also be federal tax laws that you will need to be aware of when operating a charity.

Manage your nonprofit.


A successfully run nonprofit is one that is well managed, transparent, and effective. Over the course of running a nonprofit, you might acquire properties or other physical assets that aid your operations. You might consider employing a property management company like Venterra Realty to help with assets management. You will also want to make sure that you have a good accounting team to ensure that all finances are handled with fairness and consistency. Finally, make sure that all nonprofit business is conducted above board and ensure that your paperwork and filings stay up to date. Staying on top of these business matters will help your nonprofit run smoothly and do the most good for your community.

Nonprofits contribute to the betterment of our communities by providing help and aid to those who need it the most. Managing engagement with solid p2p software and making sure that all paperwork and regulation requirements are in order will ensure that your nonprofit is as successful as it can be.