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Do you want to start a nonprofit? Featured

Do you want to start a nonprofit? Serghei Trofimov

So many people launch a nonprofit to help others. The problem is that they don't realize that their own profits could use some help too. Just like any business, nonprofits need to focus on making the most of their resources. For example, if you're a doctor selling an overpriced medical device, you might want to get out of the business as soon as possible. But without a sizeable stock of your product or service, you're just wasting money and effort. If you're a financial advisor offering discounted investments or mortgages, then it's time to invest in your brand and become profitable again.

The first step is to figure out what kind of nonprofit you want to work for. Which is more important: giving people access to resources that are essential for their development, or helping them succeed in life?

What are some of the things you can do with social media?

In the midst of a historic year for nonprofits and their supporters, it’s important to keep in mind that a growing number of organizations are using social media to not just connect with people locally and globally, but also to leverage the power of digital advertising.

A recent survey by the Pew Research Center and MTV revealed that 49% of millennials (18-29) identify as “social change activists”, up from 44% in 2013. That means that a huge swath of Americans — including millennials — are organizing on social media platforms, from Facebook and Instagram to Twitter, Reddit and Pinterest.

The survey asked respondents which causes they support: abortion rights / Planned Parenthood; immigration reform / sanctuary cities; gay marriage / same-sex marriage; gun control / more stringent background checks; climate change / global warming; education / public education; minimum wage / $9 minimum wage; LGBTQ rights / equal rights for all people ; health care / insurance coverage for all people ; or any other cause.

In other words, millennials have been centralizing around issues that affect many different groups. The question is what can nonprofits do with this newfound power?

While there is no “one size fits all” answer to this question, here are 20 ideas that should be considered when beginning your nonprofit on social media:

1) Use it as an opportunity to draw attention towards your cause with relevant hashtags (#hashtags) and use links back to your website as well (see #linksback), so potential donors don’t have concerns about whether you’ll actually promote their donation.

2) Use it as a platform for making connections with other like-minded individuals who share similar values (and who may even want to contribute). Organize events on social media platforms such as Facebook Live, Periscope or YouTube Live where the audience can ask questions via Twitter @replies or Instagram photos/videos #events . It’s also a great way for you to get exposure through images/videos shared publicly on social media platforms (#publicly). For example:

3) Build community by connecting with like-minded individuals who work towards similar goals (e.g., antiwar movement , environmental group , animal rights group , etc.). Organize events in person on social media platforms such as Facebook Live, Periscope or YouTube Live where the audience can ask questions via Twitter @replies or Instagram photos/videos #events .

Ways to get started with your nonprofit

So, is this one of those “how-to” lists? Nope! This is a list of ideas, not rules. If you have some idea for a nonprofit that is good for the community and wants to expand its reach beyond its core community — there are so many ways to get started with your nonprofit. The following list of resources will help:

  • Start Your Own Nonprofit
  • Become an Angel Investor/Founder
  • Start Your Own Charity or Philanthropic Organization
  • Volunteer at an Animal Shelter
  • Work for an NGO
  • Volunteer Interns
  • Go to Work for Free
  • Support Other Causes
  • Bring Your Ideas Forward
  •  Do All This With Technology
  • Support Other Nonprofits
  • Get Involved With Other Nonprofits
  • Fund Another Nonprofit
  • Get Involved With Other Businesses
  • Start A School

It’s time to stop thinking of nonprofits as “collective entities” and start thinking of them as “communities.” There are two main types of nonprofit: for-profit and non-profit. A for-profit is a company, NGO, or corporation that delivers a product / service to a market. In contrast, a non-profit is defined as an organization that uses its resources to help the community or public at large operate in a better way.

If you don’t have any experience with non-profits and the market you want to serve doesn’t have one yet, start with small grants (not tax deductible) from reputable organizations that make good products or services (think food banks). If your organization wants to create products / services for the same market but needs more capital to do so, you can use crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo .

Also be sure not to forget about the “community” aspect. Many nonprofits are run by volunteers who may not be able to afford the prices charged by big companies. Volunteer positions may be available at local grassroots organizations that appreciate your support; ask around!

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Scott Koegler

Scott Koegler is Executive Editor for PMG360. He is a technology writer and editor with 20+ years experience delivering high value content to readers and publishers. 

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