For those of us fortunate enough to have complete financial freedom, there is still no guarantee of happiness. Whether you are self-taught or have earned your fortune with a Euromillions Loto win, the rich are often no happier than the poor. While it is true that money can offer more opportunities that can help lead to happiness, ultimately whether or not you find happiness is up to you.
Many people have found a deep sense of accomplishment and purpose in starting their own charity. It’s not for the faint of heart, but the rewards can be worth the time, money, and effort.
We’ve compiled a list of steps that can help you get your charity off the ground. It could be your most important legacy.
Decide on the purpose of your charity
Passion is a great place to start. Do you want to promote animal welfare, help the elderly or preserve the environment? If you can find a cause that is stoking the fire within, you have taken an important step. Starting from an idea that you are passionate about will drive the project and help you maintain your interest in the long term.
Develop a mission
The mission of your charity should be at the heart of every decision; he has to guide the charity and make sure it stays on track. It must give a purpose, a direction and define success.
It is important that your mission is realistic, achievable and sustainable. Otherwise, the charity could be seen as a disappointing failure, even if it manages to achieve great results.
Establish if there is a demand
Just because you’re passionate about a particular idea doesn’t necessarily mean it’s necessary. If your niche is already well served by existing charities, you may need to re-evaluate; too much competition between charities may lead to less favorable outcomes for the niches they intend to serve. You may need to tweak or completely change your idea, depending on what is already being offered by other charities.
Conduct a feasibility study
Next, you need to determine whether your idea is feasible or not. It is too late once you start a charity to find out that it was never viable to begin with. A feasibility study can be an intensive and expensive exercise, but ultimately, as with any business, they are a necessary part of the process.
If you go ahead with the creation of a charity without first determining its viability, it could be a very short-lived endeavor. Make sure you take the Covid-19 pandemic into consideration; no one knows what the future holds, but it pays to be well prepared.
Create a name
Charities usually rely on donations and goodwill to carry out their mission, so it’s a good idea to try and come up with a name that clearly shows potential donors who you are. This way people know up front if it is a charity that they would likely be interested in helping. For example, names like “Help the Homeless” or “The Animal Welfare Center” are clear and succinct names that remove any possible ambiguity about what your charity actually does.
Determine legal and regulatory requirements
Depending on the jurisdiction in which the charity will operate, there will be different legal obligations that you will need to meet, and you should be familiar with them. Assuming you intend to operate as a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, you’ll want to make sure that your charity is set up according to the law. Seeking professional legal and accounting advice would be a very prudent decision here, as getting it wrong could be costly in terms of both time and money.
Register your charity
Once you’ve gathered all the tips you need to start a charity, you can register it with whatever name you choose. This is the first concrete step in making your charity a reality; so far it’s all been research and planning. This step is non-negotiable; if your charity is unregistered, you likely won’t be running a legal business, and the consequences could be serious. Ultimately, the niche that your charity was hoping to help will be the one that loses out if you don’t sign up.
A charity is a business and should be managed as such. As a for-profit business, funds will be required. In some cases, a lot of funds. Do you plan to float the required initial capital yourself? Or are you planning to fundraise to get it started? Maybe you plan to do a little of both. Either way, you’ll need to know where the money will come from and how to get the most out of it.
Get a team
You won’t be able to run a successful charity on your own, so surround yourself with a team of people who are completely committed to your charity’s mission. Finding the right staff can be a battle, but if you can find people who genuinely care about the work they do, you’re halfway there. People who have experience in charitable work are a definite plus, especially if you have no charitable experience yourself. We recommend that you have at least a few seasoned professionals on board to maximize your chances of success.
Find a mentor
You will have a lot to learn when you start a charity from scratch. Try connecting with an experienced charity administrator and learn all you can from them. Chances are they will be happy to help, after all, their experience is helping others. If you can avoid the mistakes they made and seize the opportunities they missed, you will be much closer to achieving your goals.
Find and announce a point of difference
With over 1.5 million registered charities In the United States alone, standing out has never been more important. With so many organizations competing for limited funding, you can increase your chances of success by offering something a little different to existing charities. If you can find a way to present yourself as unique among the hordes of other charities, you may be able to stand out more easily.
Create a website and open social media accounts
They are more non-negotiable. No business these days works without at least one website or social media accounts, and most have both. It is important that you are responsive and engaging, and that you don’t leave questions, comments or reviews unanswered. For this purpose, you will likely need an employee to monitor and respond to messages.
You can also consider someone whose job it is to improve your visibility in search engines. This can improve your charity’s bottom line; the more people who know about your charity, the more likely it is to receive donations. To create a Wikipedia page is also recommended and is a great way to give your charity credibility.
You are now ready to go! A launch event can be an effective way to market yourself, and with the advent of social media, getting your name out there has never been easier.
Starting a charity can be a daunting process, but the sense of accomplishment it can bring can far outweigh the pain in the short term. Once a charity is up and running it doesn’t get much easier, but knowing that your ideas and passion are bringing ongoing benefits to the community is well worth it.
Interesting related article: “What is a for-profit organization?” “