The latest social, economic and environmental challenges offer countless opportunities for non-profit organisations to make a real difference and change the way people live. If there is something that you feel strongly about or even something that you are personally affected by and want to change, then perhaps starting a charity organisation is the perfect way to create awareness around the topic and add value to the lives around you. Here are a few tips for starting your own charity:
- Start by developing your vision and mission
Whichever direction you decide to go, your charity needs to be driven by passion and a sustainable vision. There needs to be some inspiration for your idea and something that is pushing you to achieve a specific objective. A mission is different to vision in the sense that it is the purpose and intent for starting it. It’s about what your product or service is and who the product or service is intended to please. The vision and mission must also include your values as a company and the beacon by which your organisation will be led.
- Name the organisation
The name you choose for your organisation will be the name that supports your work. When you’re deciding on the most suitable name, try to take into consideration the function of your organisation and try to incorporate that into your name. This is the name that is going to drive your vision and make a difference.
- Position your charity in the market
As wonderful as the initial thought is, there are so many inspiring organisations that start and never end up succeeding. Why? Because it takes time, energy and drive to become known. It takes a specific type of individual to make a difference and guide their organisation into being the change they wish to see. When putting together your charity plan, you need to distinguish the differentiating factors that your organisation provides. What makes your startup different to anything that is already out there? Ask the questions.
- Write a proper organisational plan
If you think you don’t have a well-thought-out plan for your charity then think again. Part of your plan is your vision, mission, name and point of differentiation, above other factors. Your plan needs to include a fundraising strategy, operational strategies and, most importantly, a budget to get things off the ground.
In order to start any kind of ‘business-run’ organisation, there will always be the initial start-up cost to kickstart your organisation into first gear. You will also need to register your nonprofit organisation, and advisedly with a professional. There are also governmental rules and regulations that need to be adhered to, so be sure to have all your ducks in a row when planning.
- Get started on your website
Your website is your voice. It’s the ideal platform to announce your inspirations, intentions and everything you hope to achieve with your organisation. It also allows you to have a distinct voice, where you can speak to businesses and individuals for donations and volunteering. It is not recommended that you announce business plans or financials on the site as people can contact you directly to get more information from you.
- Fundraising opportunities
As mentioned, you are always going to need a little buffer of money to finance any fundraisers that you want to host in the beginning. However, some events cost more than you can afford, which is why you will need to have access to marketing platforms and business networks that can help you raise awareness and generate support. Much like any business, a charity organisation needs to be professional and structured.
There are going to be times where you will need to present your mission to large audiences in the hopes of them sponsoring you. In those moments, make sure that your startup is as professional and as important as you deem it to be. If you are new to the online world, there are many online sites and tutorials that can teach you the techniques of fundraising and how to leverage social sites to help you make a noise online.
- Establish an advisory board
Your advisory board should be a group of individuals from all walks of life. For example, if your organisation is health-focused, then you would consider people from Doctors Without Borders. The team you choose needs to be willing to make a difference and help where needed, no matter what.
- Begin operations
Starting off without any money is not recommended. You need to have enough capital to last you at least the first year of its launch, before committing to any cash outflow. Also, make sure that all workers are aware of your finance policy as spending goes to the organisation, not into staff pockets.
- Be patient enough to wait it out
Like every organisation that has ever started out fresh, you need to be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your organisation be. You need to understand that it will take time to become known and to become successful. It is unwise to start anything with the end goal of fortune and fame, especially with nonprofits, so expect to sacrifice great amounts of time, effort and money before you see any rewards.