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How To Start a Charity Organization for Beginners

11 min read

Many are fascinated by the idea of nonprofits. More often than not, the goal is to create a positive change in the world or have a positive impact. However, many nonprofits out there like to make it look easy. But the fact of the matter is that starting a charity organization is no easy feat, especially if you are coming from the number-crunching business world. It involves an extensive list of skill sets, knowledge, and expertise that span multiple fields.

Starting a charity demands time and requires effort and money—far more than most people think. And if you’re not sure how to go about it, the process can be even more difficult. Nevertheless, do not be discouraged. In this article, we’ll provide a dose of realistic perspective on things you need to know about starting a charity. We hope this will improve your grasp of what it takes to start your charity organization. And how you can get your business up and running with Ecwid’s ecommerce solution to foster greater success.

Keep on reading to learn more!

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Why Start A Charity Organization?

Usually, people who have plans of starting a charity organization are desirous of pursuing a particular cause. They want to make a positive difference within their community. A nonprofit can be the perfect vehicle to organize and fulfill some public-benefit goals, especially with its ability to attract donors. Business-wise, it can also help you grow your brand indirectly, after all, you will be seen as a socially responsible brand with abilities that go beyond the consumer towards creating a formidable consumer-producer relationship.

How To Start A Charity Organization

Define your “Why”

This doesn’t refer to some incredibly large-scale world crisis you intend to solve with your charity. Instead, it’s your personal reason for wanting to do so. Ask yourself this: Are you starting a charity organization to help the world, increase your business reach, boost your public appearance, or get yourself a job? Starting a nonprofit can be extremely hard, so it’s worth thinking through your motivation early on. There are tons of businesses out there that exist for the sake of business. A nonprofit’s “why” should go beyond that.

If your “why” doesn’t have a symbiotic relationship with a legitimate social cause or interest in making a change within society, you might be starting for the wrong reasons. People see charitable causes as “easy” businesses, and this is just not the truth! We hope you’ll understand this sooner rather than later, because a nonprofit with a murky message at its heart is almost always doomed to fail. Therefore, starting a successful charity should begin with your “why”. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. This fundamental reason for building your nonprofit will be the motivation you need in times of trouble. It will help you stay focused on helping during decision-making times.

Typically, your “why” will be the primary reason for being so passionate to start a nonprofit. Likewise, this stage will be crucial in the development of a vision and mission statement. That way, you can define what exactly you want to create and do with the nonprofit organization.

Make a decision on the type of charity

Having defined or re-established your “why”, the next step is to decide on the type of charity organization. You could consider areas including education, environmental, arts, and culture, health, animal, to mention a few. Oftentimes, people start charities or nonprofits to pursue prospects and ideas that they are passionate about. Take, for example, someone who has an intense likeness for arts and culture may choose to pursue a cause in that line.

However, beyond passion, you might be more concerned with issues that pertain to your community. This could be an influencing factor for your choice. Once you have identified the type of charity you would like to start, determine whether you would prefer to take on a broad cause or narrow down the focus.

Choose your charity name

Do not just choose any name. The name has to reflect and describe the goals and interests of your organization. This will help get people’s attention and gain their support for your cause. For instance, The American Cancer Society. You need no further translations or interpretations of what cause this organization stands for.

The evidence of a nonprofit’s position is in its name. You can also choose to name your charity after someone. The Jimmy Fund is a typical example of a successful charity in that line. Giving a charity a name that befits the cause, and aligns with the mission statement, will encourage and attract more people to donate to the organization.

Create a plan on how to stand out

The National Center for Charitable Statistics says there are hundreds of thousands of nonprofits in the United States. Most of these organizations, however, find themselves in an unavoidable competition for funding similar causes. Thus, you should create a charity organization that can survive the competition and be set apart. That way, potential donors can be intrigued by the cause and donate to support the mission.

Prepare your business plan

Some nonprofit or charity organizations hire volunteers before deciding on a plan. We advise you to work in the opposite direction and start with a plan. After creating a workable plan, you can now estimate costs, resources, talent, and income required to sustain the business.

Thus, it is essential to invest time ahead to develop a detailed business plan which provides the structure and drive to think through the most strategic issues that pertain to the business.

Meanwhile, before writing, you can make a move by doing some market research. That will be in addition to the one you have done already where you analyzed your needs and ascertained the business’s target population.

This plan is basically to provide you with a roadmap for the next few years of operation. Irrespective of your financial status or size, the plan will serve as a blueprint on how to run the business. It will also delineate the roles of each individual and how you intend to achieve your goals.

Hire staff, select board members, and choose leadership

These are also crucial in starting a charity organization. You may have to hire for positions including Communications Manager, Events Manager, Membership Manager, or Fundraising Manager. The roles you choose to hire for are dependent on your type of organization and your operational plan.

In addition, having a formidable board is your responsibility. The board will oversee strategic decision-making, making hires, and ensuring regulatory compliance, among others. Think about the skills, abilities, and experience that suit the type of charity organization. The catch is this: The key to running a successful charity organization is hiring excellent leadership and having good people on board.

Register your nonprofit

It is equally essential to register the charity in the registering authority within your jurisdiction. Tender all required documents including name and address, names of trustees, articles of incorporation, and governing documents or business plans. In the U.S., you are required to apply for tax exemption separately.

Prepare to go online

Online presence is a vital aspect of any charity organization that wants to succeed. With the prominence of the internet and its prospects of guaranteeing success, going online is the best way to bring your charity to the right audience. It ensures a reach of a wider audience to convey your message to millions of people across the world.

Not only that, it affords you an incredible opportunity to increase your supporters, followers, and potential donors. Besides, having a functional website as a charity organization indicates credibility. It makes people look forward to doing business with you because they see you as someone they can trust.

Owning a website also makes it easy to keep in touch with people who are fascinated by the idea of your charity. That way, they can make donations quickly and easily- with little or no hassles. Therefore, you should plan to create an effective website as part of efforts to launch an excellent nonprofit.

Plan fundraising

If you need to raise funds, where will you get them? How? How much do you need to get started? These are critical aspects of kicking off a charity organization. Thus, you have to do due diligence by researching and asking people in similar charities how they do things. Then, you can decide whether you will be targeting individuals or corporate donors for donations.


You will be doing humanity a great help if you have the motivation to think of ways to make changes in the world. There are many ways to go about leaving the world better than it used to be. One of those is to choose to start a charity organization.

And also importantly, the potential gains it promises. Now that you have what it takes- and even know how to go about starting a charity, you can leverage the immense benefits of ecommerce widgets, as you will get with Ecwid, to achieve your goals of owning a sustainable nonprofit organization.


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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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