ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

So....You Want to Start a Non-Profit Organization

Updated on January 27, 2013
There's more to starting a nonprofit that obtaining a 501 (c) 3
There's more to starting a nonprofit that obtaining a 501 (c) 3

As a professional grant writer, I often receive calls from individuals who are considering starting a non-profit organization. Although the majority of inquiries are from people who have a genuine concern or passion for a particular need within their respective communities; the frightening calls are from individuals who seem to think starting a non-profit organization provides them with the ideal opportunity to avoid paying taxes.

A huge misconception is the perception that non-profit status (typically a 501 c 3) will result in a lot of money dispersed your way to support your project, program, capital or staff expenses. The fact remains that most non-profit organizations struggle financially and are always on a quest to secure the necessary funding to ensure that their projects or programs can either be implemented or continued.

Most non-profit organizations spend hours submitting grant funding applications, requesting donations, hosting fundraising events, learning about and encouraging planned giving and engaging in extensive networking opportunities to build business relationships.

Important steps to consider before downloading IRS Form 1023 and applying for non-profit status:

  • Become a volunteer for a non-profit organization FIRST; you cannot manage what you do not know.
  • Set up meetings with several existing non-profit organizations to learn about the challenges they face and the state of the economic climate in the geographic area you are considering.
  • Develop a business plan, just as you would with a for-profit business.
  • What is the need, target audience and how many people will be served?
  • What staffing will be required?
  • Where will the organization be located?
  • Have you already garnered support for willing board member participation?
  • Do you understand the non-profit legal requirements, documentation and expectations?
  • Have you outlined your funding resource strategy?
  • How will you actively recruit volunteers and supporters?
  • What anticipated outcomes will result from this new organization? (What changes will be evident in the lives of those served by the addition of this non-profit organization?)
  • Are there other organizations in the area providing a similar service, and if so, what is the reason for starting a new organization rather than partnering with the existing one?

Once the above factors have been carefully considered, it is always best to consult the expertise of a qualified attorney or CPA to assist you with the required paperwork.

Obviously, this article cannot cover everything that should be considered before starting a non-profit organization, but it is a brief synopsis. Once you have acquired your non-profit status, keep in mind:

Successful operation of a non-profit organization must be passion driven and above reproach in integrity.

Ethics are critical, once breached the damage can be irrevocable resulting in the demise of an entire organization.

It is imperative that all employees and volunteers recognize that they represent your organization 24/7; improper behavior is a reflection upon the organization and can not be tolerated.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)