How to Start a Not-for-Profit Organization


Preparing a plan is as much an important step in starting a Not-For-Profit, as it is essential in starting a business. A well-thought out projection and plan will help shape your business and build the resilience needed to understand potential future risks before they prove to be a threat to the functioning of your organization. Not only will strong plan and projection strengthen your organzation for the future, it will give prospective funders and investors the means to determine whether your Not-For-Profit has suitable programming to recieve funding or whether it is a suitable investment.

One way to tackle the task of planning is to briefly answer the following:

WHY? -  Why does this organization exist?  

WHAT? - What will be the primary service of this organization? 

WHEN? -  What is the time frame of your work? Ongoing?

WHERE? - Where will the work your organization performs take place?

WHO? - Who are the organization's primary clients?

and HOW? - How will the organization accomplish its goals?

After answering the five basic questions it is time to more clearly define the values, goals and objectives of the organization. Begin by creating a mission statement that will describe the overall purpose of the organization. This will clearly answer the question of why your organization exists. In the creation of this statement you should consider the primary service to clients, target group, and values that will guide the organization.

A successful Not-For-Profit organization has an active and communicative Board. The Board of an organization is generally made up of community members or people from the client group's area of service. It is the Board that is 'in charge' and directly accountable for the overall direction and policies of the organization. Board members may not receive monetary compensation for their services.