Starting your own charity can feel like a major undertaking, but thousands of people who are passionate about a cause have already done it.
If you have a family member who was affected by cancer or you simply want to work to eradicate malaria from the world per the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, then you might well have the passion and commitment required to found your own charity.
Pick a Name
A charity should have a name that’s relevant to the work that’s being undertaken yet catchy enough so that people remember it. The international children’s charity known as Smile Train provides cleft lip and palate surgeries. It’s a name that’s easy to remember and alludes to the work (and good) that the charity does.
Make sure that the name you come up with hasn’t already been taken by another trademark. You can search the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to ensure that another business doesn’t already own the rights to that particular name in the form of a trademark.
The branding experts say that three boxes should be checked when coming up with a charity name: the name should embody the mission of the charity, the name should use punchy words, the name should be easy to remember. If a charity can be given a punchy acronym like AAA, then all the better!
Register the Charity
Charities often rely on their nonprofit, tax-exempt status in order to operate. There is a 503(c)(3) application process that those interested in starting a charity will have to follow in order to enjoy tax-exempt status.
The Secretary of State in whichever state the charity is located will also have to be contacted before the charity gets underway. Contact a lawyer who works specifically with nonprofits and knows the rules in that particular state.
Spread the Word
Spreading the word these days means creating a responsive website that will be ranked on major search engines like Google and shared on social media.
Interacting with potential donors on Twitter and Instagram as well as hosting fundraisers and Q&A sessions can further elucidate your mission and tell people how the charity will help solve real-world problems. Your cause inevitably matters to other people.