The Best Startup Advice for Charitable Foundations

Do you want to make the world a better place? You need to plan in advance how to make it happen! Establishing a charity to bring awareness and funding to a cause you care about is a great place to start.

Charitable foundations are legal organizations created to help others. They involve a large amount of work to create and successfully operate, but they accomplish a lot of good in the world. Read on to learn some of the advice you need to navigate how to start a charity.

Develop a Vision and Mission Statement
Finding your "why" is a critical step in deciding whether you should set up a foundation. Your "why" is what motivates you - such as wanting to provide housing for homeless veterans or creating a safe space for abused children. You must decide what needs your foundation will address!

Research the issue and make sure other foundations aren't tackling the issue already. Or, determine if your future charity can do it in a better way. Decide how you will distinguish your group from the myriad of other charities out there. What is unique and innovative about your organization? Answering these questions will help you to guide the development plan you've started. A group with a strong, purpose-driven vision and mission statement shows you're serious about your charitable foundation.

Register with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
You will need to register your charity with the IRS and become an official charitable organization. The most commonly used designation for a charity is as a 501(c)(3) organization. This works for most nonprofit organization including:

  • Charities
  • Religious Organizations
  • Education
  • Scientific Research
  • Arts Awareness
  • Public Safety Advocacy
  • And many more!

Becoming a charitable organization is important for several reasons:

  1. The first is so that donations to your charity will be tax deductible. People want to donate to your cause but they also want to earn a tax deduction for their donation. It also greatly helps businesses that want to contribute goods, services, venues, and other in-kind donations.
  2. The second reason is that your organization will receive tax exempt status with the IRS and often with state governments too.

You will also need to register your organization with local government agencies such as your city or county. It is important to review all your organizational options when registering. There are almost 30 different types of tax classifications for charities recognized by the IRS!

Create a Positive and Informative Web Presence
In today's wired and socially conscious media world, your charitable organization must have a great web presence to be successful. This includes an informative, educational, interesting, and engaging website. You will want to learn about and get excited for your vision and mission! Share clearly what you are doing and why, and give ways for people to get involved.

You can have a link to your crowdsourcing page with dreamOway on your site. This will make it easy for people to contribute to your crowdfunding campaign. dreamOway has special tools designed for financing foundations through social media.

Your organization's web presence should also include various types of social media, including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Part of making your foundation happen will be creating interest and spreading the word about how you want to make the world better. If you can share your motivational "why" in an engaging way, people will want to help you help others.

Get a Great Team of Supporters On Board
Developing the right team of experienced people to serve on your charity's governing board is so important to starting out on the right track. You want supportive members who share your vision! Look for people to include on your foundation's board who:

  • Are trustworthy (especially when handling other people's money).
  • Are insightful and will continually evaluate your foundation.
  • Are motivated to make things happen and create that "buzz" to attract more supporters.
  • Are experienced in working with nonprofits and charities, including their organizational pitfalls and benefits.
  • Have a strong business background in both non-profit and for-profits.

If you can include even just one person with experience in each of these areas, your charitable foundation will grow so quickly your head will spin!

Generate Seed Money to Establish and Grow Your Charity

Clearly, you need money to create and operate a charity - just like you do for a business. In both the non-profit and the for-profit world, money is needed to make dreams a reality. You cannot fund scientific research to cure cancer, help single parents go to college, or clean up the oceans without funding.

dreamOway is ready to help you with crowdsourcing your startup charitable foundation. The platform has all the tools to get you on track to get the funding to start helping others. For more information, check out our blog or download the app on iOS or Android. See you there!

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