3 Things to Consider BEFORE Starting a Nonprofit Organization


I decided to post the presentation from “Thinking of Starting a Nonprofit Organization” which is the first class in the 3-part Non-Profit Series at GTCC Small Business Center.  It’s important for anyone who is interested in starting a nonprofit organization to “count the cost” before doing so.  I find most potential founders are overly concerned with the steps to formation.  I strongly believe self-examination is a key component to a founder knowing whether or not s/he is Ready, Willing & Able BEFORE starting a nonprofit organization.

  1. Are you READY?  The vision for a nonprofit is generally an extension of the heart of the founder.  It can be difficult for some founders to move the vision from a dream to reality.  Do you have a plan of action in place? It’s necessary to take the right steps, especially during the formation process.  Do you have the time to commit to what comes after start-up?    Are you ready to make the necessary sacrifices mentally, emotionally, financially, etc. to ensure the nonprofit organization will be a priority?  My clients know that I always say “start like you want to finish.”  The initial steps taken in formation are the foundation for how successfully the nonprofit organization will implement its vision & mission.
  2. Are you WILLING to let others help you?  A nonprofit organization is structured to require a group of people to give administrative oversight and financial management (board of directors).  Before formation, founders are encouraged to assemble a group of like-minded individuals who they trust & who share the vision. Developing a strong board of directors limits “founders syndrome” which occurs when the founder maintains disproportionate power and influence following the initial establishment of the nonprofit organization.  I challenge my clients to understand that the organization does not “belong” to them.  The nonprofit organization’s “public benefit” suggests that the vision & mission to serve others should be the priority.
  3. Are you ABLE to commit to finish? This may be the most difficult question to answer because founders may not be able to anticipate unexpected challenges.  My experience has been that challenges often begin once the founder is ready to move forward with formation.  Challenges come in many forms but they all come to disrupt, distract or destroy.  The “rubber meets the road” when challenges come in the early stages of a nonprofit organization.  The question remains whether the founder is able to stay focused on the vision & mission through tough times.

Enjoy the presentation!  http://www.slideshare.net/stctoday/nonprofit-series-seminar-1