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Give Back to Your Community With a Nonprofit Organization

Starting a nonprofit is a great way to give back to your community while giving you and the people you involve a sense of purpose and mission. If you’re interested in creating an organization to give back, here are some tips from Kimberly Hayes to get you started.

Give Back to Your Community: Choosing Your Nonprofit

The primary consideration will be, what kind of nonprofit should I create. There are a couple of ways to approach that. Number one, what is it you’re passionate about? What do you believe in so wholeheartedly that it will make the hard work and pressure worth it to you? What will your mission be?

Number two, what segment of your community is underserved? Will you be helping your community with a need that doesn’t yet exist or is in need of additional resources? If you’re duplicating an already existing nonprofit, it will be hard to find funding and donors who may already be supporting another more established group doing the same work. 

Getting Started

Like any business, Constant Contact points out that you’ll want to create a business plan. This will serve as a guide or roadmap for you laying out what steps you have to take, how you’ll achieve them, and what both your short-and-long-terms goals are.

Find someone who can offer legal advice for you, since there are a lot of laws governing nonprofit organizations, or speak to someone who has already started a nonprofit before and can mentor you.

Create a checklist of everything you’ll need to do to start your nonprofit. Be sure to also do some research into what forms you’ll need to fill out, as required by your state.

If you’re wondering “Is a nonprofit a corporation,” you will also need assistance to incorporate your nonprofit, which offers a number of benefits: 

  1. Limited Liability Protection: Incorporation separates the organization’s liabilities from the personal assets of its founders, directors, and members. This shields individuals from legal and financial responsibility for the nonprofit’s debts or liabilities, offering personal asset protection.
  2. Credibility and Perpetual Existence: A nonprofit with legal incorporation often gains more credibility and trust among donors, supporters, and the public. Additionally, incorporation provides continuity, ensuring the organization’s existence beyond changes in leadership or membership, giving it longevity.
  3. Tax Benefits: Incorporated nonprofits can often qualify for tax-exempt status, allowing them to be exempt from federal and state income taxes. Additionally, they might be eligible for tax-deductible donations, attracting more support from donors.
  4. Access to Funding and Resources: Incorporation may enhance opportunities for funding, grants, and resources. Some donors and foundations may only provide grants to incorporated nonprofits, increasing access to financial support and other resources.
  5. Structural Clarity and Governance: Formal incorporation establishes clear governance structures and guidelines for the nonprofit, defining roles, responsibilities, and decision-making processes. This clarity helps in running the organization efficiently, promoting accountability and transparency.

Also, it’s easier to apply for grants and public funding if you’re set up as a nonprofit corporation. When you form a nonprofit corporation, you’ll need to create bylaws that detail how you’ll operate. This includes how the corporation is governed, how often it holds board meetings, how voting works, and rules on conflicts of interest.

Next, obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN), and apply for tax-exempt status. Then you will need to register with your state to collect donations.

Give Back to Your Community: Fundraising

Donations are vital for sustaining your nonprofit’s work, and holding fundraising and awareness events can be a great way to bring money in while you give back to your community. For example, a charity walk/run in your community can attract a lot of local support from both individuals and businesses. Use a walk score map to plot out the ideal route through the community. Then work with local leadership to make the event a reality.

Digitize Your Documents

To help avoid the stress that comes with having to deal with mountains of paperwork – especially when some of those crucial documents get lost – try to get in the habit of digitizing your important files. That way, you can keep them organized more easily. This will be especially helpful when tax season rolls around! You can even use a tool to create a PDF online​ and store it on your devices for easy access and sharing.

Give Back to Your Community: Getting Exposure

Let some of your local businesses help you. They can offer a discount on a product or service in a drawing where people enter their contact information, maybe dropping it in a fishbowl near the cash register. That list of names and contact information can then be used by you to solicit donations. 

Create a press release for your local newspaper. The editor at the paper will be more likely to run it if they don’t have to create the content themselves, so make sure it’s ready to go with no errors that need correcting.

As part of your content marketing strategy, social media is by far the best way to reach the largest number of people. You can create a Facebook ad that can be seen by millions so that even if a small percentage engage with your nonprofit, that can turn into a lot of donations.

A Facebook ads maker allows you to use editable templates and include your own logo, branding, fonts, colors, and text to create an eye-catching ad. Once your Facebook ad is completed, you can instantly download it. Consult free online resources for more content marketing help.

Senior Help

As baby boomers age through their 60s, 70s, 80s, and increasingly beyond, that generation will contribute to the overall aging of the U.S. population in the coming decades. The Advisory Board notes that they are an increasingly underserved segment of many communities. Programs that can be beneficial for seniors include transportation services, food and meal preparation, and delivery, computer training, and home visits. 

Creating a nonprofit can be a lot of work, but the rewards are unmatchable. Create your business plan and incorporate your organization in order to apply for funding and grants. Get the word out using help from local businesses and ads on social media. It shouldn’t take long before you see what a huge impact your new organization will have on vulnerable people as you give back to your community.