How to start an NGO step by step

Last modified: August 17, 2018 by Priyanka K in NGOs | 4 comments

To start an NGO is a similar procedure to run the company. But, here you have to keep transparency because it is not for profit. You have to work for society without expecting any profit. So have you decided how to start an NGO?

Do you have to make sure, before running NGO, you really want to do this? So many people want to leave their high profile jobs. They move to social work.

If you are one of them, you should know that how to start an NGO in India. Seems like, it is not an easy task. But if you are determined, there is help at hand.

Let’s get started.

How to start an ngo : Find Community Need

1. Choose a general category

Choose a general category for the services or assistance you want to provide. While you already may have a general idea of what type of NGO you want to start.

Categorization will help you to know which types of support you’ll want.

For example, suppose you want to support the homeless in your city. There are many various ideas you can support the homeless. By giving food or house or helping with a job search.

On the other hand, if you want to give food and house, you’ll have to find a location and secure proper permissions to work.

2. Find already available services

Find out what services are already available. If you need to make sure, your NGO actually makes a difference. You need to be sure your works are not copying those of someone else.

Assessing pre-existing nonprofits also can support you. To find out nearby NGO that have similar missions that relate to your organisation.

3. Conduct surveys to find demand

If you are capable to talk to the people, it would help your organization.

People will be ready to donate if you can show that your organization will make a significant impression on people’s lives and on the community at large.

4. Search your state association of nonprofits

Each state has an association of nonprofits, which can give you priceless resources and direction on starting your organization.

5. Work with existing nonprofits in your area

If an established nonprofit already is working in the area where you want to share. You may be able to make more of a difference if you join organisations.

This can be very helpful if there’s another NGO in your community that already does something similar to what you want to do.

In some cases, you may be able to request that organization, about working as a sponsor for your organisation. Which help your startup process very smooth and provide additional support.

How to start an ngo : Develop Your Team

1. Decide needs of your NGO

When you are starting, you want to avoid creating a team with members who all have similar skill sets.

Keep in mind that:

“you can create your team slowly.”

You need to avoid just making space for friends and family members, who want to help. If they do not have any related skill that they can bring to the table.

There is no need to hurry into anything or have every position filled as soon as possible.

Take time to search people who fit your needs. They are also passionate and dedicated to the organization’s goals.

2. Recruit founding board members

Recruit founding board members who will help and advance your goals.

The initial members of your NGO should have the experience and expertise to meet your operational requirements. The types of expertise, you want will depend on the focus of your organization.

For example:

If you plan to provide legal support to low-income people. You certainly will need lawyers.

If you plan on offering free tax planning and advice to low-income people. On the other hand, you might want to bring some accountants on board.

Not only must you look for people with expertise, you also must find dedicated staffers also. Who are passionate about your organization’s purpose and its goals.

The people you need also will depend on what your organization will be doing and where it will be located.

3. Establish a social media presence

Not only are social media accounts free, but if used daily and effectively. They can help you to reach a public and excite interest in your cause.

Start accounts for your NGO and connect to other NGOs in other areas. That has the same category or have the same goals.

If your NGO will help homeless people find jobs. You might want to connect with an NGOs that provide homeless people with suits to go on interviews.

In addition to connecting to other NGOs, you also can use accounts to connect to supporters and volunteers.

4. Find passionate volunteers

A large staff of volunteers shows support for your project, which may in turn boost donations.

You can create teams of volunteers who are like to share information about your NGO. Or write blog posts to inspire others to visit your website.

If you are developing an NGO that will have a restricted focus and physical location.
You might think to have an event to increase awareness for your cause and attract supporters in your area.

When you sponsor events for donations out in the area. You also can use those chances to recruit interested volunteers for your cause.

Sometimes people who do not have the money to donate will be engaged in donating a few hours of their time instead.

How to start an ngo : Funding Your Organization

1. Develop a comprehensive budget

To know, how much money you will need to build. You need to have a good understanding of, how much it will cost to promote your NGO on a daily basis.

Depending on your budgetary and financial needs, you might want to think about hiring an accountant. Especially if you delay filing for tax-exempt status in the future.

Keep in mind that:

Even if you think of having the online organization. You still have operating expenses, such as domain registration and website hosting that should be included in your budget.

Figure out not only the fixed costs to start your NGO but also costs of licensing or registration fees and other costs for infrastructure and development.

For example:

If you need to rent a physical space, the cost of finding and securing that location should be included in your budget.

2. Draft a business plan

Planning the structure, operation and projected growth of your NGO supports you, to know your budgetary needs.

Plan all aspects of your plan. Including the organizational structure, mission, marketing, fundraising efforts and projections for future operations and growth.

You can use parts of your marketing plan later on when registering for tax-exempt status or building fundraising brochures.

3. Get required licenses

You will need to register with your state’s nonprofit association and depending on the type of services you think to offer.

You may require other state and local licenses to work.

At a minimum, you typically must register with your state’s nonprofit organisation before you can start fundraising. You also may need state charitable solicitation registrations. These forms are required in most states.

If you plan to request donations there. So if you think to collect donations online you may have to register in every state.

4. Start fundraising

Based on your budget and your daily working expenses. You can think out, how much money you must average to work toward achieving your goals.

Individual donors may make up the bulk of your donations, especially at first.

You also should be requesting donations from businesses and other associations in the area. Especially those who potentially would be affected by your mission.

For example:

If you’re beginning an NGO to help homeless people find jobs, you might try donations from your local Chamber of Commerce.

5. Applying for grants

Government entities, as well as larger nonprofit institutions and universities, may give grants. They can help some or all of your operating costs.

You can search at your local nonprofit association or online to find out. If grants are available for nonprofits that provide services.

If you are not familiar with the grant application process. You may require to hire someone on a temporary contract basis, who is experienced in drafting grant applications.

How to start an ngo : Get Tax-Exempt Status

1. Determine your eligibility

To certify for tax-exempt status, your NGO must live to further one of the purposes listed by the IRS, such as religious or educational purposes.

Keep in mind that:

If you have listed a broader purpose in your organizing. Or preparing documents that recognized by the IRS under 501(c)(3) of the tax code.

You may have to change those documents. So they meet the purpose identified by national tax law.

2. Incorporate your NGO

You can not get national tax-exempt status unless your NGO is established either as a corporation or a state-registered unincorporated association.

You must get a name for your NGO that is unique between all registered NGOs.

You do not necessarily have to be incorporated to get national tax-exempt status. Some states do require it.

Check with your state’s secretary of state office to get, what documents and paperwork you need a file to register your corporation. Many states have different documents required for nonprofit.

Your local association for nonprofits will have state-specific forms, guidance and resources to assist you to incorporate your organization and get tax-exempt status.

3. Get a national Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Yet if you do not have any employees, your NGO must have its own EIN to apply for tax-exempt status.

You can get an EIN online by using the IRS’s EIN Online Assistant. There is no fee either to have an EIN issued or to use the system.

4. Complete your 501(c)(3) application

Typically you must either fill out Form 1023 or Form 1023-EZ to apply for tax-exempt status.

If you are affiliated with a church or school. Your organization normally is considered tax-exempt automatically. And you do not have to file any forms with the IRS.

The 1023-EZ is a clear version of Form 1023 which you typically fill out a 1023-EZ. If you are a small organization receiving less than $50,000 a year and with assets of $250,000 or less.

When you file your application with the IRS, it must be accompanied by processing fee. This fee may be subtracted quickly from the organization’s bank account or you can pay using a credit or debit card.

Wrap Up

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