How to Start a Charity

If you’ve considered creating your own charity to fund a cause that’s close to your heart, you may be overwhelmed and wonder how to even begin. Here are the first steps you’ll take to start a charity:

1. Determine your cause. You’ve probably already completed part of this step. To further determine how to start your charity, you’ll need to get a little more specific and fine tune exactly how you will support the cause. For example, let’s say you want to provide help for abused women. Do you plan to offer shelter and food to these women, or some other sort of services? How will you raise funds? Write down the details of what your cause will do and how you’ll take donations. In order to qualify as a 501 (c) 3 under the IRS tax code, your organization must be religious, scientific, charitable, literary, or dedicated to public safety or the prevention of cruelty.

2. Using this information, give your organization a name, and write a mission statement that defines what your organization will do. A good mission statement is 3-5 sentences long and provides a clear picture of what you do and what you hope to do.

3. Set some goals. Choose goals that work specifically toward meeting the mission you described in your mission statement. Make sure your goals are measurable and achievable.

4. Find an attorney that works specifically with non-profit organizations. Your attorney will help you file all the necessary legal paperwork with the secretary of state’s office and with the IRS. These attorneys specialize in working with organizations like yours to ensure you’re properly set up. Because they specialize in this sort of work, you can expect fees to be very reasonable.

Now that you better understand how to start a charity in Minnesota or elsewhere, you’re well on your way to supporting your favorite cause.

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