Let me introduce myself. My name is Monique Gary and I live in Southeastern Michigan in the Metro Detroit area. I currently work for Ware and Associates, a consulting firm. I work as an Instructional Designer and Project Manager. Recently I've started a new company I named Apex Grant Writing. At Apex we work collaboratively with your organization to identify funding opportunities that align with your organization's vision and strategic plan and to pursue grants that support your initiatives. We also serve as a resource in all aspects of proposal preparation including budget development and review, formatting, and adherence to all internal and external guidelines, regulatory requirements and policies.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Starting a Nonprofit Organization

OK so you've made the decision to start a nonprofit.  I will share with you the steps you will need to follow to get your NPO off the ground. 

1. Decide what your non-profit organization will do. What needs need to be met in your community? You might call local agencies to see exactly what areas need the most help.

2. Write a mission statement. A mission statement is a formal short written statement of the purpose of your organization. The mission statement is intended to guide the actions of the organization, spell out its overall goal, provide a sense of direction, and guide decision-making. It provides the framework on which the organization’s strategy is built. Of course the mission should be about meeting a need in the community.

3. Name your organization. This requires some careful thought. The name should indicate what services will be provided and to whom they will be provided. Do an online search to make sure that other organizations in your area do not have the same or a similar name. If you plan on having a website, do a search to ensure the availability of the domain name.

4. Select the members of your Board of Directors. Choose your board members to meet the needs of your non-profit as well as the requirements of your state. You will need at least a small number of board members to help you start the new nonprofit. Select your board members based on their field of expertise. Board members with previous nonprofit experience such as fundraising, planning, and accounting can be especially valuable.

5. Find a lawyer that you can consult with during the incorporation process. You can do much of the work yourself to incorporate but you will benefit from a lawyer who can help guide you through the process.

6. Set up a bank account for your non-profit organization. Look for a bank that is familiar with the banking needs of small non-profit organizations.

7. Set up an accounting system. You may need to hire the services of a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). If you do not have at least a basic understanding of bookkeeping and accounting, then you should get some help. If at all possible, enlist a volunteer who has accounting skills, and may possibly be the Treasurer on your Board of Directors.

More steps tomorrow...

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