The short answer to the titular question is yes, anyone can start a non-profit, at least in theory. In practice, starting a non-profit is an involved and complicated process that requires effort and commitment.
Part of the process involves securing funds, which is easier if you have capital in the bank. However, even without money, if the cause resonates with people, there are other ways to fund your non-profit. Besides funding, you also need to feel strongly enough about the cause and have enough time to commit to it. Here’s a more involved discussion of what goes into starting a non-profit and how anyone can do it.
Setting up a non-profit will, at minimum, require you to meet some costs that are somewhat constant across the country. These are incorporation, tax-exemption status, and registration fees. While these are the bare minimum, setting up a non-profit is extremely difficult without some further services, such as help with the 501(c)(3) application. These services aren’t necessary in theory, but they are in practice.
There are generally two ways to meet these costs. Firstly, you can pay them off with your personal capital. Secondly, you can raise funds to meet these costs. The second method is particularly useful for people who don’t have much money but do have the desire to help.
Commitment and Preparation
Another condition for setting up a non-profit is feeling strongly about your cause. Your passion can come from many different sources, but what matters is that you are passionate about the non-profit’s goals. Before moving forward, you should put your passion down on paper and define your organization’s values and goals. Not only will this clarify to yourself and others what your non-profit is for, but it will also attract volunteers and funders.
Other than clarifying your values, you should also develop a budget. This will ensure that your non-profit remains focused and on its established path. It’ll also build confidence in people, who will be more willing to volunteer for and fund your non-profit.
If you’re prepared and committed, you’re ready to start a non-profit organization. However, while meeting the prerequisites for setting up a non-profit is necessary, the process itself is another burden. Get in touch with us at A2Z Filings, and we can help you through the 501(c)(3) application process and set up your non-profit.