Starting a Charity Foundation

Developing a Charity and Getting Donations

Maybe from the time when you were a student you've been exposed to fundraising and charity events, donations, and other voluntary work for a cause. And now, you have developed a longing to set up your own charity foundation (also known as a non-profit organization) to support the cause closest to your heart. As long as you have the passion and the drive to further your chosen cause, you can build an effective organization of your own.

A charity foundation is dedicated to a specific cause and uses financial and charitable donations to operate and further its cause. We have listed some helpful tips to get you on your feet so you can start making a difference in the lives of other people:

  1. Smiling group of volunteersClarify your organization's mission. Whether you are pursuing children's rights, women's rights, animal welfare or another causes, focus on one cause and make sure that your short-term and long-term projects are directed only to that cause. You should develop a mission statement for charitable fundraising that's centered around your cause and what you hope to achieve.
  2. Network with other groups. Starting a charity is a lot of work. Knowing how others have done it before you can help. They may also have other utilities, mechanisms, and back-up support systems to allow you to reach more people and gather more assistance.
  3. Do what you can to obtain needed resources. You can distribute flyers, get online donations, or hook up with shopping outlets to get more attention; this attention may very well mean more funds and more volunteers to do charity work and support your organization.
  4. Most importantly: know when, where, and how to get help. You cannot run the charity by yourself, and more than money, you need people to volunteer their time, effort and skills to your cause. Acknowledge the fact that in order to help more people, you need help from other people too. Knowing how to get help is important because the more people you influence with your cause, the more work you can do for others. Many states have non-profit networking groups that you can contact for assistance in learning how to attract and train volunteers.

Once you are clear on the above-mentioned items, move toward officially launching your charity by completing the following steps:

  • Fill out any documents as required by federal and state laws. The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has helpful information on how to do this.
  • Enroll with your state as a charity foundation or as a non-profit.
  • Come up with a clear organizational structure to ensure that all aspects of your operation are well-managed.  You should begin by enlisting at least five people to act as an impartial Board of Directors.

You can visit your state's administrative office (or the appropriate section of your state's official website) to learn more about the documents you'll be required to file.  They can also let you know how long it will take  to get your charity officially on the roll. It is also a good way to introduce yourself and your cause to the state where you will be operating. Many states are very supportive of well-run charity foundations.

Setting up a charity is a very noble and fulfilling cause. By reaching out to more people who need assistance, you know that every effort is worthwhile. Just don't lose your vision, and know that your presence and hard work will pay off as you see those whom you have helped get better and better.


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