Starting a charity is a great initiative to change lives and to give back to others. So if you’re ready to make a difference but are not sure where to begin, read on.
Do your research.
Begin by researching what you wish to achieve. Is starting a charity the best thing for you? Does it fill a need? Perhaps there’s countless other charities which already exist who are doing what you wish to do. Be sure to research these other organisations and see if they fill that void you wish to fill. Perhaps you may wish to contribute to an existing charity and offer them your ideas or projects.
You can search the ACNC Register to find registered charities that you could support or work on a project with.
What is your mission statement?
Developing a vision or a mission for your charity is intended to help you create a concrete goal. The mission statement is a concrete description of your goals for your charity and its intent.
What is the basic purpose for your charity? Consider and write down in detail the following questions:
- What will your charity try to achieve?
- What will its main activities be?
- What programs or services will you provide?
- Who is your target audience?
- Who will benefit from the charity’s activities and programs?
- Why is there a need for this new charity?
- How long will your charity last? Will it be for a one-off short-term project or an ongoing long-term venture?
Seek out those who have knowledge.
Establishing connections with like-minded individuals can help you make better decisions for your business plan and will also allow you to find out where the real needs are. Those you can consider talking to include librarians, city council, your local church, other volunteer groups.
Research your resources and fundraising requirements.
Consider writing a plan about how much money or other resources your charity is likely to need in start-up and ongoing costs. It is recommended to seek the assistance of professional financial advisors including becoming familiar with doing your tax homework; for example, becoming aware of the exemption requirements for soliciting donations. For more info, go to charity.com/irscharityexemptions.shtml and download the publication “Tax-Exempt Status for Your Organization.”
Of course you can put your own funds into the charity, but generally you will need help from others to help support running costs.
Charities raise money in many different ways:
-Charging membership fees
Set up a not-for-profit and a website.
Go to the Society for Non-profit Organizations and read their helpful 12-step plan.
Creating your own website is essential in this modern age. Through a website you make your charity public and searchable. Websites can help broadcast your intentions, aspirations, events, and goals.
Along with this, getting involved in social media and taking your charity to Facebook and Twitter is also a great way to establish connections and obtain greater reach and influence among your community.
Don’t forget why you started.
Running your own charity can be a lengthy and money-zapping endeavour and it is easy to lose patience or motivation. Very few charities manage to survive their first year upon starting up. Giving back can be as challenging as it is rewarding, however it’s important to remind yourself of your vision and your passion. If you have passion for what you’re doing and what you want to achieve, it will trump any difficulties you may face.
For more information on starting up your own charity, please visit the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission’s “Starting a Charity” page.
LEARN TO START A CHARITY & CHANGE THE WORLD WITH OZHARVEST
Ronni Kahn is the CEO and founder of OzHarvest – a charity that accepts food donations destined for landfill to help feed the needy.
With thanks to Pedestrian, you are invited to join Ronni Kahn in an interactive online 45-minute class to learn about the insider-tips in starting your own charity.
What you will learn
- You’ve got an idea that’ll change lives, now what?
- Things to think about when setting up a charity
- How to survive your first 90 days
- How to survive the next ten years
Monday March 30, 7pm (AEDT)
Register your spot now and begin changing the world!