What are the four appropriate steps to take to start a nonprofit?
I am often sent this question by aspiring entrepreneurs who want to know as much as possible about the nonprofit sector before they launch. I understand the need to be prepared before launching any new venture but also appreciate the art of just starting and figuring it out as you go.
For most of my social entrepreneur career that's been my path. Is launching into the deep and trusting God to equip me with the knowledge, wisdom and skills I need to be successful. All of my help comes from Him but He does send powerful people here are on earth to give me the resources I need for success but also to share that information with others.
I also understand that many people don't want to fail. But why? It's the failing moments that have taught me my greatest lessons. Without some sort of failure I would not be where I am today. I would not be able to tell you the ins and outs of starting something like a for-profit or nonprofit.
Here are the steps I recommend to starting a nonprofit:
First, I would say that failure is inevitable when starting a business whether for-profit or nonprofit. Along the way you will learn valuable lessons to empower yourself and others. Never give up on the vision God has given you to change your life, the community you serve and even the nations.
Second, you need a board of directors (a minimum of 3) yourself and two others. I recommend people that possess the strengths you need for success. You need a business mentor - someone to guide you along the path and coach you through the valley and mountain moments. Your valley moments can be a shift in leadership, lack of enrollment, losing sight of the mission, etc. Your mountain moments are when you’re awarded your first grant, sell out your first conference or an invitation to share your mission with a crowd. Either way, you need someone in your corner.
Third, attend workshops, conferences, online webinars and learn all you can while you can. Continue to build the skill sets you need as leader to manage people and projects. You should never stop growing as a leader of any organization. Every day, make it your goal to learn something new that will ensure your success along the way.
Last, pray and praise. As a faith-based leader and visionary this is how I fight my battles of failures and celebrate my success. These are your weapons as a leader. To pray without ceasing over every matter regarding your business and to praise God when all is well and when everything seems to fall apart.
There is no magical formula to success except faith, perseverance and a wiling spirit to see the vision manifest at different levels.
I hope you all the best on your journey as a nonprofit leader!