by Brad Wayland, co-owner and Chief Strategy Officer at BlueCotton
Unfortunately, starting a charity isn’t as easy as collecting some money. If it were that simple, everyone would be able to get out there and change the world. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t try – it’s admirable that you’re working towards a good cause.
But you also need to do it right. Before you get started, here are three things you’ll need.
A Clear, Consistent Vision and Goal.
The first, most important thing is to know what you’re setting out to do. Why are you creating this charity? Who is your target audience? How will you raise money? What is your brand, and how will that brand’s personality inspire people to give?
The most important thing in this regard is that you stay both reliable and consistent. People must know what to expect from your charitable organization. Moreover, they must be able to trust that you’ll always do the right thing – and that whatever donations you collect will go directly to your cause.
“Assuming a charity has a vision that is still relevant and values driven behavior, then the red flag for the outside world will be when it doesn’t seem to be consistent,” writes corporate values strategist Sarah Brown. “Trust is the foundation of every relationship that works and is critical to success…Reliable consistency will make you more money because you will achieve consistent results which attract funds or donations.”
A Social Media Presence.
The fact is, everyone these days has gone social. It’s increasingly rare to find someone who doesn’t have a Facebook account, someone who doesn’t use Twitter, or someone who isn’t on a professional network like LinkedIn. Like mobile technology, social networks have embedded themselves into our lives in a very deep way.
If your charity is going to succeed, you need to understand that. You need to take to social and use it as a means of connecting with both donors and potential volunteers. You need to use it to spread the word about your cause, and to generate awareness for fundraising events.
An Advisory Board.
Last but certainly not least, it’s important to understand that you don’t need to go it alone when it comes to running your nonprofit – nor should you. Find a group of trusted individuals with both financial and fundraising experience in the nonprofit sector, and invite them to join an advisory board. These men and women will help you navigate through the numerous complexities involved in both founding and running your charity.
One important note – make sure you’re selective about who you let on. An advisory board that’s too large can destroy your charity same as one that’s too small. Keep a watchful eye also for personality conflicts – some people can’t really be trusted with a position of power, especially when money’s involved.
Use your best judgement.
It isn’t easy to start a charity, but it’s definitely worthwhile. You can change the world in a very real, very valuable way. Just know where to start, and follow the right steps – the rest will sort itself out.
Co-Owner and Chief Strategy Officer at BlueCotton, Brad Wayland ushered the company into the digital age. His attention to business development, marketing, and social media helped BlueCotton grow by leaps and bounds. Armed with a strategic mind, Brad holds expertise in Social Networking, Web Development, and Entrepreneurship. He has written articles for CreativeBloq, SocialMediaToday, and VolunteerMatch.