Anonymous asked in Society & CultureCommunity Service · 1 decade ago

how can I start a non-profit organization?

I always wanted to do something to help other people, but I jsut don't know how, or where to begin. Please help me start a non-profit organization.

5 Answers

  • Best Answer

    If you don't know how to help other people or where to begin, do NOT start a nonprofit organization. Instead, VOLUNTEER. You are in no position to start a nonprofit until you know how they actually work, what is effective, etc.

    You can look for places in your area to volunteer here:




    Network for Good,


    If you see an organization that you would like to help, but don't see a volunteering opportunity posted by that organization, it's okay to call them and say you would like to volunteer -- they may have opportunities they haven't posted. Also, many organizations are open to your own suggestions for volunteering activities.

    For New Orleans:

    -- The Web site is designed to match civic-minded individuals in New Orleans and nationwide with volunteer opportunities throughout the city. The opportunities are searchable by areas of interest and location. Nonprofits may post opportunities at

    -- The Web site provides a clearinghouse for contact information on secular and faith-based groups doing relief and humanitarian work in the area.

    -- Common Ground provides assistance to residents of the 9th Ward, including rebuilding, mowing, gardening, soil testing, handyman and gutting services. Also provides a legal clinic, a medical clinic, and a women's shelter

    -- Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations keeps a directory of more than 1,000 member charities.

    -- The Louisiana SPCA

    Also, contact your local volunteer center; you can find this via the Points of Light Foundation web site,

    There's also this government sponsored site, which provides volunteer positions through USA federal land agencies like Fish & Wildlife, Forest Service, National Parks, etc.

    Remember that finding a volunteering gig can be like finding a job: you may have to interview several times before you are chosen for an assignment.

    If you want to be a volunteer to help with the consequences of a natural disaster, such as Hurricane Katrina, you need to register and prepare NOW. Here's a web site where you can register and start your preparation so that you can help the next time disaster strikes:

    NetAid has programs specifically for high school students in North America who want to help in the developing world. NetAid is now a part of MeryCorps

    TakingIT Global is another resource for young people in the USA who want to do something to affect the situation positively in developing countries

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Simple Answer: No such thing as a non-profit organization.

    Marsha J. Evans, President and CEO of the American Red Cross... salary for year ending 06/30/03 was $651,957 plus expenses.

    Brian Gallagher, President of the United Way receives a $375,000 base salary, plus numerous expense benefits.

    The Salvation Army's Commissioner Todd Bassett receives a salary of only $13,000 per year (plus housing) for managing this $2 billion dollar organization.

    If you're referring to a "not for profit" organization, try being a mentor for college bound students. Give them the benefit of your knowledge, experience and guidance. I do that.

    I help people locate scholarships to continue or re-enter the educational process. I don't charge a cent. Some have "returned" after they accomplished their goal and have said "thank you" and others took me out to dinner and still others keep "clients" coming to me. My reward is in knowing I helped someone do something positive with their life.

  • Why do you need to be an "organization" to help other people? Why not just go do it?

    If you insist on being an "organization," then contact your state tax department (via the web, best bet), download the forms, pay the fee (if any), and then wait for the tax-exempt letter from your state. You should also register your organization name (again, tax folks), to make sure you don't use the same name as somebody else, and then go do your fundraising, recruiting, resource location, and distribution of assistance.

    Or...Just go help people. It's a lot easier. :)

  • A F
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    I have helped start 2 nonprofits. It is not hard but you do need to follow some simple steps. First be specific as to what your organization will do. You will not get the support you need by just saying helping people. Tell a bit more about who you want to help and what help you want to provide but leave room for changes and expansion too.

    Go to your state's secretary of state web site for ex for people in GA and see what the requirements are for nonprofit incorporation in your state. You may be able to do the paperwork yourself or you may find it is more complicated and you need a lawyer. You will need articles of incorporation and also bylaws which are more specific about what the organization will do and how and the rules it isn to go by. One thing those must say is that if the organization is disolved the money it has goes to a similar nonprofit or will be taken by the state. No person gets to keep it for themself. By laws should also contain a rule about how the bylaws may be ammended (changed) and say there has to be an annual meeting of the board of directors.

    You will need board of directors all of whom are legal age in your state. These should be either people who are known and successful in your community or people who have good experience doing what you want to do or both. They should be people of very good character who care about what you want to do and should be able to get along with each other,

    Once you have completed the requirements you see there for nonprofit incorporation in your state,sent in your money and gotten your nonprofit state incorporation, you will need to seek federal nonprofit (501c3) status so people's help to the organization is tax deductible. Most likely you will need a lawyer to help with that. You will also need to keep very good records about all money that comes in and all money that is spent. The organization needs its own bank account.

    A simpler way to start is to find another nonprofit organization that is doing something similar or compatible to what you want to do and ask them to be your "fiscal agent" for a while. That means your organization's money goes through them and their nonprofit status makes donations to what you are doing tax deductible. That is often faster and better so you can have time to learn what you need to do and how to do it and get together the money for your own incorporation. Here is an example of how that could work, When we started Caring Hands Ministries the church we went to was the fiscal agent. Donations of food and money came through it and people from the church found it natural to help because it was part of their church. In this case the church also helped provide a place to keep donated food and to meet with people who needed food.

    Talk with people who are involved in doing things similar to what you want to do in your community and elsewhere to get some good ideas. To find them look in the paper and on the TV news for stories about helping groups, call your United Way and ask for a directory of community organizations, ask your pastor and your counselor at school. You can also go to and get a list of foodbanks near you the foodbank can then tell you about foodministries that are close by. Many of them may help in other ways too. Then talk with them and get a good idea of what is needed and what is being done. Just because someone else does something does not mean that you can not also do it but if for example there are 4 places within 10 miles of each other helping with clothes and none helping with school supplies or with blankets you may want to think about helping with what people can not easily find elsewhere. You might also find you want to volunteer with one or more of these organizations for a while to learn more about ways to help and what works and what doesn't work as well. Then when you do your own nonprofit you will have solid experience and be sure what you want to do and how to do it. Or at least as sure as you can be. I have been invlved with Caring Hands for more than 12 yrs and I am still learning. You will be too but that is part of the good part of helping people. It also helps you grow,.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.