Maybe you have a good heart and overflowing love for people that you can’t contain it to yourself. And so, as an outlet, you plan to start your own charity and give some lovin’.
Well, the truth is it’s not that simple as you might have thought. There’s a tremendous amount of legal work and other factors involved in starting your own foundation. Continue reading to get a gist of what you need to do to proceed with your plan.
Research on existing ones
Look around for other existing charities. If they have similar beneficiaries and goals as yours, might as well volunteer in that charity instead of creating a competition. The goal is to help more people and not contend for the best charity.
Consider cooperating with existing institutions. Do things they haven’t done or contribute a part in their work. If they give books to kids, partake by sending those children to school.
If your idea is unique compared to existing ones, then you can continue with the next steps.
Organize your cause
What do you intend to do to help? Who are the target beneficiaries? How will I get funding? These are some questions you have to ask yourself first when planning to start your own charity.
Plan the name of your foundation. Usually the names describe the function of the foundation like “Breast Cancer Society” or something similar to that. Others use a real name in honor of that person like “The John Doe Cure.” Whatever name you choose, it should be able to instill the message that your cause is for the betterment of society.
Structure the management
There are several rules the IRS enforces on every nonprofit institution. One is that it should be run by a board of directors, its members and its beneficiaries.
Noncompliance could endanger the continuity of your charity’s operation. The Foundation Group discusses some no-nos in managing your charity and similar nonprofit organizations.
Create bylaws that will guide your organization’s operations. There should be standard procedures even in charitable acts.
Define your mission and vision
Yes. Just like any organization, a mission and vision statement is necessary for establishing your own charity. It would be pointless to do something if you don’t have a goal you want to achieve.
A vision should be something ideal that you would like to be. It should be a goal that will keep your foundation motivated in continuing its deeds. A mission is something more achievable and measurable in a given amount of time.
Register for tax-exempt status
Charities and similar foundations that are nonprofit are qualified for tax exemptions. Consult the IRS for filing requirements and other details on how to register your charity under a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.
Sponsoring organizations and other contributors can also file their donations as tax-deductibles in their annual reports if your foundation is duly recognized by the federal government.
Of course, being relieved from paying federal taxes has a price. Meticulous record keeping and annual reports must be submitted regularly to the IRS to keep that privilege.
Getting known is the hardest part. But once your foundation is established, you can get continuing support from various entities.
Get help from friends, relatives and rich acquaintances. Look for private institutions that will be interested in backing your cause and ask them for dole outs of cash or even goods.
You can even raise funds online. There are several online fundraising sites like GiveBack and mycharitypage that helps you create your own page with details about your charity work. Share the page in social media networking sites to gather more support for your cause.
Starting the operation
Of course you’ll need initial funds to start a fundraising project. Nonprofits should spend 80% of the allocated funds on program expenditures and 20% or less on administrative and fundraising costs. This means your foundation should spend the greatest amount on charitable acts and not on paying employees and fundraising costs.