We’ve all been there.
Before starting any project, everyone knows: Read the Instructions!
But don’t look for an instruction booklet when you are thinking about starting a nonprofit. Sorry, it doesn’t exist…
Instead, it is going to seem like everything is a first priority:
• finding initial, startup operational money
• selecting Board members
• submitting for 501©3 status
• preparing for fundraising and finding grants that might fit and many more necessary steps.
Here’s some advice and Tips to follow..
First, ask questions. Take time to find nonprofit peers who already have learned lessons needed to successfully launch a nonprofit. Most nonprofit participants and communities are very open, very sharing. Their experience and insights can save you a lot of frustration and time.
Second, write your plan. I’ve always been involved in planning–strategic, project and organizational. So I know the value of taking time to talk, to listen and to set some modest goals in a written plan. You may have it in your head, but it needs to be written, too. You can tweak it as you go along, but you will need the guide to navigate the complicated process, stay focused and get other stakeholders understand and communicate what makes your nonprofit unique and needed.
Third, find great partners to do the job ahead. Find people who care as much about your cause and Mission as you do. Yes–great people are out there: “can do” staff, capable and committed Board members, willing and eager volunteers, and other partners in the community.