How to Set Up a Non-profit Business
So you want to set up a non-profit organisation but don’t know where to start or how to go about it? First of all, that’s great, and congratulations! But did you know that the government recommends taking six official procedures before launching a charity?
Well, you want to make sure you follow all the correct procedures stipulated by the government to set up a successful non-profit business. This article will expand on these steps and discuss more approved tips to help you set up a prosperous non-profit organisation.
The Ultimate Non-profit Business Setup Guide
To be successful, your non-profit organisation needs more than a proper legal structure – it requires an appropriate funding strategy, outreach, and impact programmes mapped out in advance.
Let’s dive in and discuss each in detail, shall we?
1. Conduct Thorough Research
The first step is to conduct in-depth research. You must find out if there is a need for a non-profit business in the area and how many people would benefit from it. This research will help you determine the type of product or service to offer and its target audience. It will also help you decide on the best location for your business.
As statistics show, over 169,000 charities exist in England and Wales alone. How will you ensure that your proposal is unique or, at the very least, better than the current organisation for your chosen cause? To avoid stepping on anyone’s toes, examine existing non-profit businesses to see if there is a gap for you in the community.
Conducting research will also help you determine what type of non-profit business you want to start, how much funding you need and how much time you will have to devote to running it. Some of the factors that affect your decision include:
- The nature of your cause
- The size of your community and its needs
- How many people are affected by these issues, and how can they be reached
- How much volunteer help or staff can you count on to run the organisation
2. Determine Your Mission
You don’t just start a non-profit organisation just because someone else is running one. Ensure you have a reason, current and for the future! And that’s why you need a mission statement to showcase your values, provide a vision for your business and direct its growth.
To have a desirable mission statement, ask yourself the following questions: What is your purpose? Why are you doing this? What do you stand for? If you want to help others, what do they need help with? Identify how best you can help them. This can be something as simple as volunteering at an animal shelter or something more complex like setting up a charity shop where all profits go toward helping those in need.
To effectively collect financing for your non-profit organisation, you must be able to persuade donors that you are distinctive. Hence this phase is similar to identifying your unique selling point. To do so, you must establish who you are and what you want to accomplish.
Finding a geographical niche; going hyper-local to a particular neighbourhood is one approach for sticking out. This clarifies your objective — ‘helping people in X location’ rather than simply ‘helping people.’
3. Look for Trustees
Trustees of a charity are the people legally accountable for the organisation’s day-to-day operations and governance. Most organisations require a minimum of three trustees to run well. You need someone who shares your vision and has the necessary experience and expertise.
Create a role description that is both informative and engaging to attract the most qualified individuals. You are welcome to utilise your personal and professional contacts to find a candidate for the position if you know somebody who would be an excellent fit. Alternatively, you might extend your search to social media, recruitment firms, and online job boards.
4. Choose a Name for Your Organisation
Your business needs a name that meets specific legal requirements and doesn’t infringe on someone else’s existing trademark. Also, ensure that it’s not too close to any registered trademarks to avoid confusion between brands and potential legal action from others claiming infringement.
Pick a company name that conveys who you are and what you stand for without sounding too similar to another charity. To verify that your name is unique and not identical to another legitimate organisation, you can look them up in the charities register.
Please note that you need approval from the Charity Commission if the word “charity” is to appear anywhere in your name.
5. Choose a Structure
Several factors come into play when deciding on a legal framework for your non-profit organisation.
- Who are the top dogs in charge
- Modus operandi
- Its Capabilities (e.g. employ people, own property)
There are countless ways to set up a non-profit business. One of the most popular methods is to use a company limited by guarantee (CLG). This type of private limited company does not have shareholders but instead has members who are liable for any debts or commitments made by the company.
A CLG can be set up as either an unincorporated association or a community interest company (CIC). Both types of CLG have the same legal structure and rights and obligations. However, CICs have slightly more flexibility in how they operate.
The key feature of both types of CLG is that they do not make any profit for their shareholders and are, therefore, not subject to corporation tax. However, if you receive income from commercial activities, they must be declared on your annual return to Companies House, and payment may be required.
6. Make a Constitution or Bylaws
Your chosen structure affects the details that should be included in your charity’s governing document or rulebook. It will give curious people an overview of your non-profit and address the following issues:
- Why you’re doing this
- What kind of people operate your company, and how do they do it
- Details about the selection process for trustees
- Trustee Expense Requirements
- Specifications for Trustee Compensation
- Instructions for Dissolving a Nonprofit Organization
Trustees and a governing agreement will get you well on your way. But you must register with the Charity Commission to operate as a charity in the United Kingdom if your annual income is expected to be more than £5,000 or if you intend to operate as a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO).
8. Set Up a Fundraising Campaign
Once you’ve found a cause you care about, it’s time to raise funds. You can set up an online fundraising page. You’ll need to start fundraising if you’re looking to raise money for a new project or charity.
There are various ways to do this: from raffles and tombolas to sponsored events and collections, but the most common way is through online fundraising sites. These offer an easy way for people to donate money securely online and with minimal effort on your part.
Data protection, intellectual property, and regulatory compliance rules apply to non-profits as they do to for-profits. Just as you would think about the safety of your new business when beginning it, you should do the same while starting a charity.
It’s essential to follow the rules while establishing and operating a non-profit, regardless of the cause you support.