If you do decide to start a nonprofit, you will not be alone. There are an estimated 2 million nonprofits in the US alone and millions more throughout the world, and it is quite likely that someone already has the idea that you have for your nonprofit. So, before you start a nonprofit, think about these questions:
1. Is my NPO legally qualified to be a Nonprofit?
If you are thinking of starting a nonprofit just because you want to avoid paying taxes for your main business, you must remember that to qualify as a 501(c)(3) charity, your organization must serve the community. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit cannot be operated for your private benefit.
2. Is it the right choice for me ? Am I cut out for this ?
Before you start a nonprofit, you will have to find investors who are interested in making a difference, rather than a profit. Nonprofits are similar to businesses. You will need a business plan for your nonprofit. Your organization will have to produce measurable results. You will, just like a for-profit owner, have to put in long hours, probably without pay, until you can get the new enterprise running on it's own steam.
You may have to keep your paying job during the startup process. Some nonprofit organizations are completely run by volunteers. You will need not only a passion for your cause but a lot of determination and flair. Running any organization requires good management skills, and a nonprofit is no exception.
3. Do I have a unique original idea ?
With so many nonprofit organizations in existence (2 million in the US alone), it is likely that there is a nonprofit that already has your idea. Do your homework and search for other NPOs that are similar to the one you propose to start. If you are able to find other NPOs that have the same mission as you do and do a good job, it is going to be very difficult for you to attract donors and grants, or volunteers. You may be passionate about your cause, but there are others who do a good enough job for you to attract the attention of the media.
4. Can I find people who will support my idea financially?
Many people who establish nonprofits have only the vaguest idea about where the financial support for their organization will come from. Startup funds are hard to come by for a nonprofit, unless you have a brilliant idea. You might have to contribute funds out of your own pocket. You may also need to depend on the generosity of individuals who believe in your cause. Do you know who they are?
Do research on where nonprofits get their income and think about where those startup funds will come from before you begin the work of starting your nonprofit.
In due course of time you will need people to volunteer their time to serve on your board of directors. Many nonprofits begin with only volunteers until they can afford some staff. It all revolves around where your funding is going to come from ?
5. Who Is Going To Lead the Nonprofit?
You need to thoughtfully consider as to who will be on the Board of Directors. The board is the governing body of the organization. They should not be placeholders. Your board should be a source of energy, action and dedication. Aside from directing, the board members need to be involved in fundraising for the organization. Hopefully, board members will bring with them some influence to help raise money for the organization to function.