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Ask Yourself These Questions Before Starting Your Nonprofit Featured

Ask Yourself These Questions Before Starting Your Nonprofit Mika Baumeister

Starting a nonprofit is a noble idea and is often done by brave and selfless individuals. Sadly, most people start nonprofits without fully understanding what they are getting into. While starting these organizations might be due to good intentions, intentions alone cannot help you achieve your goals and fulfil your mission. Rather, it would be best if you did more digging deeper and developed sound strategies that will allow you to achieve your targets. Ask yourselves these questions before starting your nonprofit organization, regardless of the group of people you want to serve or the mission you want to achieve.

  1. What problem do I want to solve with your nonprofit?

Many start nonprofits to help individuals or communities solve a particular social issue. However, some lack clarity on their goals and how they want to help. As such, you must ask yourself, how exactly are you aiming to help? Start by identifying a concrete problem you intend to solve, and this can help you establish your mission and develop a targeted strategic solution. This will also guide your selection of critical team members and co-founders.

  1. How do I know if my idea is worth pursuing?

A good way of finding an answer to this question is to conduct an analysis. Start by identifying if the organizations (nonprofits, governmental and for-profits) are already doing similar work you intend to pursue in your community. It will be difficult to get support if your services are a duplicate of the existing ones instead of improving or adding value to them. Getting donors and support, in general, will be hard if your nonprofit duplicates what others are doing. Furthermore, find demographic or population data that shows a need for your services and explain how the need is not being fulfilled.

  1. Are there alternatives to starting a nonprofit?

While forming a nonprofit to solve societal problems is one way of helping, it is not the only option out there. Forming a nonprofit might be complicated and may deal a blow to your passion for serving. The biggest challenge you might encounter with a nonprofit is developing and maintaining reliable income streams. According to estimates, less than half of nonprofits survive beyond five years. Therefore, before you decide to start a nonprofit, think of alternatives to it. Is a nonprofit the only way of solving the issues you have identified? If there are other options that are faster, use them instead.

  1. Do I have the time, capacity, skills and finances to start the nonprofit?

As you start your nonprofit, think about the skills necessary to get the work you are interested in doing. Although you may already have some staff members, they may not have the needed skills. Ask yourself about the skills you already possess. Ensure you consider the leadership skills necessary to start and run your nonprofit such as communication, team management, organization and planning. Do you have time? Since you will need to scale your mission to the time you have, time is a precious aspect. Ask yourself if you have the money that is needed.

  1. Is there a need for a board of directors?

In a nonprofit setup, a board of directors plays various roles and has some legal responsibilities. You will have to change your board as your nonprofit grows to operate effectively. Ask yourself the size of board you need, your board members' skills, and when is the right time to change. Although recruitment is a crucial step in a nonprofit, you must approach it systematically. Think of critical aspects like orientation, training and evaluation of your board members.

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Scott Koegler

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