Steps to form a nonprofit organization
Unlike other businesses, non-profit organizations don’t operate for the profit of their members and don’t distribute money to members.
- Research how to establish an organization, including information on founding documents, tax exemptions and deductions, and volunteer payments and expenses.
- Make sure you use an integrated accounting system for nonprofits, which can help you with invoicing and bookkeeping — as well as planning for growth.
- To incorporate a not-for-profit company, society, or charitable trust board, organizations must register with the state where they operate.
- Not all community organizations need to incorporate. Unincorporated organizations have fewer costs and responsibilities but lose certain advantages of incorporation.
How to apply for grant funding
Grant funding opportunities are extremely competitive so it’s essential that community organizations build a strong case for financial support.
- Search for grant opportunities online using sites like Grants.gov.
- Learn how to write a winning proposal. Organizations need a deep understanding of a project’s goals in order to build a case for financial support.
- Grant reports contextualize funding outcomes and nurture ongoing relationships with funders. The best grant reports use data analysis services to create compelling visuals that demonstrate the impact of funding dollars.
Using volunteers in a non-profit
Volunteers play a big role in the success of non-profit and community organizations.
- Find volunteers for a new organization by posting opportunities online, advertising in local media, and networking locally.
- A written policy avoids legal issues and creates clarity around the nature, purpose, and expectations of volunteer involvement.
- Remember that board members are volunteers too. Effective recruitment, induction, and training and development practices maximize the effectiveness of a non-profit board.
Running a nonprofit organization is hard work. Before starting a new community organization, link with existing nonprofits working on the issues important to you. Use VolunteerMatch to find volunteer roles where you can use your skills to make a meaningful contribution to your community.