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Your Guide to Setting up An NGO

Also referred to as civil societies, NGOs are cooperative bodies that work independently to address an array of social and political issues. Dozens of new NGOs are launched in the United States each year, aiming to change the world and improve society. However, setting up an NGO isn’t just as simple as officially registering it. You also need to have a course of action ready.

Here’s how you can start your own NGO.

Find a Cause You Care About

You can’t run an NGO unless you’re invested in the cause it stands for, and you can’t be invested in the cause unless you truly care about it. The first step to setting up an NGO, therefore, is to identify what you’re passionate about and want to work for.

Woman researching the current NGO climate stressfully

If you’re clueless about what cause you want to fight for, take a look at your local and national NGOs. What type of causes do they cater to? Also keep up with the news and stay on top of the social, economical, environmental, and political issues that currently exist. This will help you narrow down causes you’re personally interested in, and lead you to study the field more elaborately.

Identify Your Vision & Goals

Once you’ve selected a cause that requires your efforts, you need to narrow down how exactly you’ll be contributing to it with your organization. For instance, if you plan on starting an NGO that helps persons with disabilities, then you need to decide how exactly you’re going to be helping them. Will you be looking into healthcare aspects? Do you want to offer vocational training that would help them with employment prospects? Is your goal to lead toward a more inclusive education system that caters to students with disabilities?

For this, you need to clarify your vision, mission, and goals. Don’t just look at the bigger picture (for e.g. deciding you wants to make the society more inclusive of disabled individuals). Be more specific. Make a list of realistic goals you want to accomplish, strategize how you’ll achieve this, and evaluate the challenges and rewards it’ll involve. In short, create a business plan for your goals.

Crumpled up ball of paper next to a fresh sheet representing how important it is to state clear goals and mission statements

Assess Your Financial Needs

The next thing you need to get your hands on is financial capital. You’ll need ample funding to keep your NGO afloat and actively strive toward your goals. That said, obtaining funding can be quite challenging itself, which is why you need to have a sound strategy for this.

Calculate your financial needs and create a plan of action. You can collaborate with other established NGOs, partner with sponsors, apply for grants, ask for donations, and conduct fundraisers. Make sure you weigh in each option.

Start Your Projects

Finally, it’s time to get started. An NGO that claims to want to help but doesn’t do much isn’t going to be very successful. You need to walk the talk and pursue the cause you’re so passionate about.

Start small. Decide on a low-cost project that would give you prominence without causing you to go bankrupt. It’s okay to try a few different approaches before you finalize what works for your NGO and what doesn’t.

At A2Z Filings, we have a team of business plan writers who can help you draft a grant proposal and concrete business plan for your NGO. Call us at 561-212-1192 for more details.