• Ask yourself what goal you want to accomplish—who you want to help and how.
  • Can you achieve your goal by volunteering with an existing organization, or will it take a larger effort to make a difference?
  • Outline a mission: What is the purpose of your organization?
  • Research organizations with similar missions.
  • Identify a Board of Directors—look for people who care about your goal and who are active. It helps to have members with different skills like accounting, non-profit law, public relations and fundraising.
  • Decide how your non-profit will be funded—there are lots of fund-raising options.
  • Check with professional non-profit groups like www.NetworkForGood.org or your Regional Association of Grant Makers for non-profit advice.
  • Prepare for 501(c)(3) tax status so your organization can accept tax-exempt donations. You'll need a clear and concise mission, a Board of Directors and organizational by-laws.
Remember, starting a non-profit isn't easy and it's not for everyone. If you can identify a clear need and have the vision and energy to make a difference, then go for it!