Creating a nonprofit organization is the same as creating a business, so you need to approach this decision with some serious thought and planning – and funding as well. If, after you decide that starting a nonprofit is a larger project than you are ready or able to tackle, but you still have the passion to do something constructive in and for your community, you may want to consider some alternatives such as:
- Study the nonprofits in your neighborhood and inquire about volunteer opportunities, internships or even employment opportunities. Hands-on experience with another nonprofit will benefit you greatly should you someday decide to start your own agency.
- Partner or collaborate. Meet with those nonprofits which have similar missions as your intended mission and explore creating a project or initiative or new program while negotiating your own involvement.
- Research and contact the national organizations in your mission area and find out if a local chapter may be needed in your own geographic area.
- Consider forming an unincorporated association or club with an annual budget under $25,000 which allows you to have meetings and activities but skip some of the reporting requirements.
- Raise awareness about a specific community need and/or your mission idea. Use your passion to write a book, teach, or speak in public. Become an expert in your mission topic.
If you do decide to start a nonprofit, consider the skills you will need to be successful. For free resources on the nonprofit startup process, visit the Nonprofit Start Up page of our online Resources Library and our Key Partners for the professional help you’ll need.