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Before Starting A Nonprofit, Answer These 10 Questions First.

by Ashlee Tate
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Questions to ask before starting a nonprofit

Starting a nonprofit has been one of the most rewarding and challenging endeavors of my life! There is no doubt that it can be a tough journey but the payoff and impact that comes from it is priceless!

Before we get started be sure to grab the worksheet with all of the following questions on it so you don’t have to write them all down! 10 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Starting A Nonprofit-Download

In today’s Vlog from our weekly Remarkable Mondays Live segment, I’m sharing 10 things I wish I knew before starting a nonprofit. These were crucial lessons that will set you up for success during the startup and building phases of your social impact business.

Let’s jump in!

Watch the full video

1. Who Is Your Target Customer?

Figuring out who your specific target donor/customer and clients are is crucial to any businesses success. Do some field research of your own by asking questions to your community leaders, other local nonprofit executive directors and so on to figure out exactly how your business fits into the landscape.

2. How much time can you want to devote?

How do you want to build your life and work schedule?

Are you going to be the person to run the program or would you like someone else to do it for you?

These two questions are important considerations for your growth and exit strategies. Don’t answer them lightly.

3. How much time is going to be required of you?

Getting the 501c3 is not the hard part. Finding the balance and building the business is really where you need to evaluate your time.

Where will receive the help? Another great video I would encourage you to watch in order to save yourself a little heartache when it comes to leading the business is this one on Why You Shouldn’t Have A Working Board

10 questions to consider before starting a nonprofit.

4. How will you get help?

Getting the help doesn’t need to be difficult but if you don’t have the infrastructure in place, along with a plan, things can get a little hairy.

Interns have been my preferred method of help for the last few years. Not only is it a way to involve the youth in our community, but it also gives you the opportunity to get your business out there.

Volunteers and interns are plentiful BUT you need to create a process and structure that you can stick to. Here are a few things to consider.

Are you personally sourcing them?

What structure will you use?

How long will the training take?

Do you have time to train?

How many days do you plan to meet?

5. What Is Your Unique Value Proposition?

The market is crowded in the business landscape so how will stand out against the crowd?

Before starting a nonprofit, you want to ensure that you are executing your mission in a way that helps you stand out.

In question number 1 I suggested doing some field research so that you can determine how you can do things differently or add to the current business landscape in a way for you to stand apart from the rest.

6. Let Your Mission Become Your True North.

Understanding that your mission is the answer to all of your questions will allow you to take solace in the answer NO to questions that don’t serve your overall mission.

Before starting a nonprofit you will need to have a good grasp of the mission for the organization. There will be many opportunities coming your way and you’ll need a way to filter through them in order to determine the best fit for your business.

Let your mission become your true north.

7. Walk Through Your Processes

A little later in your journey, after you’ve started running your programs and need to start bringing in help, one of the top tips to uplevel your training program is to walk through your processes.

This means everything you do in your business, is written down in some form of a manual or process to make your training curve work efficiently.

One of the best things I did early on was write down the process of uploading new kids to our website. Step by step, anyone could step in and upload a new child. Whether a volunteer for only a day or the intern who had been with me for months.

Take a moment to take a step back and start looking at areas of your business that would give someone the ability to step right in if they only knew the process.

8. Do You Have a Referral Source to Maintain the Flow of Your Clientele and Donors?

Creating connections is the lifeblood of the business world and it’s no different for social impact businesses.

Along with thinking about your processes, start thinking about HOW you will keep a constant flow of clientele. Who are the gatekeepers that engage with your target client that can connect them with your programs and services?

Focus on creating consistency in referrals.

9. Who is Your Target Audience? For Donors and For Clients?

If you don’t know who you’re talking to, you’re talking to noone!

If you aren’t sure how to find your target customer, download the Find Your Perfect Customer Worksheet

Taking this step is crucial in getting your message to the right people and making a true impact!

10. What is the Minimum Viable Impact You Can Make?

Minimum Viable what?

Yes, I know, this seems a bit overkill, but it actually just means what is the minimum service, program, or offering that you can provide to start executing your mission and make an impact TODAY?

What if you don’t have a building, is there another way to provide the services? Can you partner with another organization or use their building during off hours?

Think outside the box so you’re not waiting until everything is perfect. Trust me it never will be.

Stay focused on the impact, not the full monty. That’s what really matters in the end.

Don’t forget to grab your free download! 10 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Starting A Nonprofit

Have a Question For Us?

If you have a question for a future Ask Ashlee Anything, you can drop them below or join us in the (free) Socialife Tribe.

You can also find us on social media, email us, or leave your question in the comment section down below!

Stay #SocialONPurpose,

Ashlee Tate

Now, get out there and UNLEASH your ‘something’ amazing! You’ve got this!

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