7 Tips for Starting a Non-Profit: Starting a non profit organization is a big challenge even for those people who have experience with developing a non profit. Good planning and sound strategy are the required ingredients for the success of your non profit organization. Use these 7 simple tips and steps to develop a successful non profit organization plan and strategy:

1. The Mission of your Non-Profit Organization
Defining your vision and mission is the first step in starting a non profit. Mission Statements help you define your mission in a few sentences. Use some brainstorming and list all the major things you would like to accomplish with your non profit. If your list is too long try to categorize and group all the items from your list (learn more about how to develop a mission statement).
2. Major Clients and Stakeholders of your Non-Profit Organization
Your mission statement already includes the target clients and major stakeholders for your non profit organization. Clearly define who are the main clients of your non profit, where they live, where they work, what they do and identify and analyze the major trends that are relevant and important to your clients.
In addition to the main group of clients your non profit will probably have other stakeholders so make sure you make a list of the most important stakeholders and define their needs and interest.
3. Define the Value Proposition
Define your value proposition – what value will your non profit organization provide to your clients? How you are going to deliver the value for your stakeholders? If you are about to start a small non profit the value proposition might be simple.
However if your non profit is more complex you need to make a list of different benefits provided to the stakeholders. Even small non profit organizations have different stakeholders who have different interest and benefits so make sure you clearly outline your value. Your job is to identify and further develop the fit between your non profit mission and your stakeholders’ interests.
4. Non Profit Board
Your non profit organization needs a board. The board is a group of individuals from your community who represent your clients and stakeholders. Take a look at your list of clients and stakeholders and try to identify individuals who represent them. Ideally your board members should be individuals who have high stake in the value provided by your non profit organization.
Your non profit board will be in charge of the main strategies and policies so developing a good team for your board is critical for the success of your non profit. Individuals who are part of your community and have good reputation in the community are perfect individuals for your non profit board.
5. Non Profit Personnel: Staff and Volunteers
Your staff (paid personnel) and your volunteers (unpaid personnel) are the most critical part of your non profit – they are the ones who make things happen. Just like in profit organizations where employees are the most important part of the business, your non profit will be successful only if it has the right people. Skills, motivation, passion and beliefs are the most important things you need to consider and look for continuously to develop the right non profit strategy for hiring and retaining your people.
6. Non Profit Budget and Fundraising
While non profit organizations generally charge a fee for the services and products they provide, most financial requirements are met by fundraising. You need both budget (your non profit financial plan) and fundraising strategy (how to raise money for your non profit) to keep your non profit organization going forward and accomplish the mission.
Everyone is important in fundraising – your personnel, volunteers, board and everyone else in your non profit. All your stakeholders even those who are not directly involved in fundraising should be educated and informed about your fundraising goals and objectives. Your non profit fundraising sources will probably include government grants, corporate grants and donations from individuals. By creating a recognized value for your stakeholders and your community you are helping your fundraising programs.
7. Non Profit Leadership and Management
If you are starting a small non profit organization you will most likely start with a small budget and small team of people. It is critical to develop a good leadership and management skills and develop clear mission and policies which will help you stay on track.
Working with small team and limited resources is a challenge since your small non profit will face the same issues faced by the large non profit organization. Be very clear in identifying your strengths and weaknesses (SWOT explains in more details how to identify your strengths and weaknesses and develop successful strategies) and develop the best workable strategy for your organization.