Obtaining a 501c3 status is really a “big deal” and should be taken seriously. Establishing your organization on the “good foot” (starting it the right way), can put you in the position for start-up success.
Earlier this week, I posted to my Perfecting Wellness Nonprofit Coaching and Consulting Facebook group about a new client who has gotten off to a great start. Within months of starting, this organization was able to acquire support from a major university, major corporations and donors in order to implement their very first initiative.
The truth is that being new is no excuse for “staying in start-up mode”. Many times nonprofit organizations get over the hurdle of obtaining their 501c3 status only to do nothing. Honestly, most times it is not their fault. This inability to move beyond start-up is usually due to the fact that most new nonprofits, particular when their leaders are under-experience do not quite know how to get started.
How to get started is the most important. Most new and under-experienced organizations get started on the “wrong foot”, and while there are plenty of ways to start out WRONG, one of the biggest ways is to begin “fishing” for funding before you have a clue about what you are actually doing.
Having the Determination Letter in hand for some, immediately creates a sense of “everyone will give us money”… sorry, but this is not true. The key to finding support of any kind for your organization is knowing who is “your ideal audience ”. For example, if your organization’s mission centers around providing meat to hungry children, it makes little sense to respond to RFPs (Request for Proposals) that center around encouraging children to become vegetarians. Or even worse, if you have no ideas regarding your proposed program(s), but try to develop your organization by going after any and every pot of money that you see and requesting donations from anyone with a pocket… you have certainly NOT gotten off on the “good foot”. Do you see where I am going? Many times we are so anxious to get started that we look for funds in all the wrong places. With this, we are more likely to be rejected than we are to be rewarded.
Knowing your target audience starts with realizing your mission. Your mission helps you to understand not only who you are, but who you are serving, why you are serving them, where you are serving them, and what impact will your service have on them. Once you have a complete understanding of this concept, you will be better able to attract your ideal audience and donors and funders who readily buy-in to your cause.
Want to make sure that your nonprofit gets started on the “good foot”? From formation to start-up and sustainability, my Nonprofit Success Inner Circle is sure to put you on the path to Nonprofit Success.