Question: Hi John, I’ve had a idea for a non-profit organization in my head and on my heart for several years now but I don’t know where to start. I love make-up, hair and fashion and I love to uplift other women. I would love to start a non-profit where I can help women who are down on their luck (homeless, victims of domestic violence, jobless, etc.) look the part and get themselves prepared for job interviews. This is in hopes that looking the part will help motivate and jump start something for them. Please tell me where I can find info on how to start a non-profit. I have used the internet but there’s soooo much info that it gets overwhelming. Thanks! – RB, Dallas
Answer: Hi Ronda and thanks for the question!
Very nice and generous mission you’ve set about for your non-profit organization idea! I think that’s commendable. And you’re right. Starting a non-profit organization, or any organization that requires registering with the government, can be quite complex and overwhelming. So it’s good to break it down into steps or phases:
- Pick a name that briefly reflects your organization in a way that can be branded easily. Register the name with a county authority. In Dallas County, you can go here
- Write down a plan that reflects the mission of your organization and captures the major tasks/milestones you want it to achieve over the next 2-3 years (per quarter, to keep it simple). You can find help here
- In the spirit of keeping things simple, you can register with the state as a non-profit without going the extra step of registering with the IRS, so long as you contain your activities within the state. For the State of Texas, you can go here. This site also has info on filing trademark applications if you decide to go that right (it can get a little pricey). When you’re ready to go nationwide and want to register with the IRS, go here
- For non-profits, it’s essential to get used to writing requests for grants. There are companies that offer help with this, or you can do it yourself. You can start here and here with how to go about the grant writing process.
Hope this helps, RB!
Affluent Blacks of Dallas