Are You Ready to Start a Nonprofit?
Are You Ready to Start a Nonprofit? (or might fiscal sponsorship be a quick and efficient way to get started making a difference now)
Below are some things to consider before applying to be a stand-alone nonprofit.
1. Why are you doing this?
Be sure your commitment and mission are strong. There will be roadblocks to getting funding, clientele and collaborators. Your commitment and mission will keep you moving forward.
Fiscal sponsorship is akin to a soft start in the nonprofit world. You can spend your time and energy testing your idea and using your passion on the mission versus the nuts and bolts of setting up a 501c3 administrative structure.
2. Have you ever started a business before?
A nonprofit is just like a small business except with a slightly different set of rules. If you’ve never started a business before, you might want to research what it takes. Google it. Talk to friends, family members, or people in your community that know something about start-ups.
Your fiscal sponsor can help you to build your business slowly and concentrate on networking, collaborating and raising money as opposed to bookkeeping, building a board of directors, finding insurance, and researching 501c3 tax regulations. We will take care of those things for you until you are ready to do it yourself. Then, we can help you fledge.
3. Who is with you on the project?
You will be well served by allies. It is a good idea to do an honest inventory of your skill set and find others to help you with the things you may not know how to do yet, the things you don’t especially like to do, or the things that would just be better done by someone else. Also, entrepreneurial ventures can get lonely and you want someone on your side.
Fiscal sponsorship provides an ally. We can help you think through your goals, objectives and activities. We can teach you about board development, fund raising, bookkeeping, insurance and what nonprofits can and cannot do. You don’t have to do this alone.
4. What kind of revenue are you aiming for and where will you get it?
Think through a budget. What will you need money for? Be realistic. What supplies will you need? What technology? What staff? Then, research where you might get that revenue. It is possible to have a nonprofit and charge for services, though there are limits on how much you can charge and whom you can serve. There are also grants and fundraising campaigns. What do you know about those? Who do you know who knows about fund development? Being able to fund your project is essential.
While your fiscal sponsor doesn’t take the responsibility for project fundraising, we have the resources to help you set realistic budget goals, and plan and implement fundraising strategies.
5. Who else in your community is doing what you want to do or something similar to what you want to do?
No one wants to duplicate services. What you want to do may already exist in your community. You want to know if that is true. Perhaps if there is a similar effort you can collaborate and avoid competing for the same resources. If not, or if there is a good reason for you to start something new, it will benefit you to know exactly why so you can explain it to others.
Using a fiscal sponsor is a reasonable alternative to get started making a difference quickly and efficiently. Fiscal sponsorship allows committed individuals to try out ideas and build capacity before committing the time and money required to set up a 501c3 nonprofit organization.
We provide the nonprofit administrative platform of a board of directors, accounting and bookkeeping, reporting to the IRS and State authorities, and insurance. We provide help with project design, development, and acquiring funding. We teach you the rules and regulations of nonprofit management. Then, if or when the time comes to fledge and be an independent nonprofit organization, we help with that process.