The Essentials of Setting Up a Nonprofit:
If you want to give back to your community and help others in need, then starting a nonprofit is a wonderful way to do it. But setting up and managing a nonprofit organization can be complex. Along with exercising exceptional grit and determination, you’ll need to understand how to prepare for the financial, logistical, and managerial aspects of running a nonprofit. Here are some tips and resources from Silvie Bells for how you can get going in the right direction:
Let’s start with some financial practices and principles you’ll need to consider:
Without a budget, you can’t make a financial plan for your organization; create a realistic budget that will pave a path to success.
Make sure each team member understands their financial responsibilities and has the tools and skills necessary to fulfill them.
If you're short on time, automate repetitive tasks with invoicing software. You’ll cut down on the time it takes to do this task and help ensure you’re paid on time for your services.
At every turn, prioritize financial accountability and transparency when dealing with the IRS, Attorney General, donors, and other organizations.
There are also several logistic steps you will need to take when setting up your nonprofit. Here are a few of the most important ones:
Research your geographical area to ensure that there is a need for the nonprofit services you plan to provide.
Lay the groundwork by crafting a mission statement, business plan, and governing body (board).
Form your nonprofit corporation using an online formation service like ZenBusiness, which will walk you through each step of the process and file the necessary paperwork for you.
Once your nonprofit is established, you’ll need to take steps each day toward managing and growing it.
Understand and comply with all filing requirements (e.g., Form 990, state financial reports, state tax-exemption filings, etc.), bylaws, and accounting practices for the government. Hire legal counsel and a tax attorney to ensure that all your organizational activities are sound and compliant with your nonprofit designation.
Recruit passionate, qualified members to your board and committees. Ideally, these individuals can relate to your specific cause, such as experiencing the trauma that’s part of a NICU experience like the one Silvie and her family has gone through.
Clearly communicate the responsibilities and jobs of your committee and board members.
Forming a nonprofit is one of the most effective ways that you can make a positive impact on your community and beyond. Just make sure you understand the work that goes into starting and managing an organization that complies with the government and truly benefits community members. Along with following the tips above, keep researching to build a strong foundation for your nonprofit!
Silvie Bells is a NICU nonprofit that provides families of sick and preemie NICU babies Comfort Packages that include home pulse-oxygen monitors.