Topics included in this post:

  1. Introduction to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations [basics]
  2. Why start a nonprofit organization [benefits]
  3. How the registration process works [process]
  4. Exclusive programs for 501(c)(3) Orgs [special programs]
  5. Compliance with SoS & IRS [compliance]
  6. The key to success [branding and IP]

501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization: The Basics

Let’s start by examining what a non-profit organization is and is not.

A nonprofit organization is one that:

  • Operates as a tax-exempt entity under the IRS Code.
  • Is motivated by educational, religious, scientific or research objectives
  • That is eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions
  • Is a stand-alone entity that does not attempt to influence legislation
  • Is motivated by social and charitable purposes rather than profits

Why Start A Nonprofit Organization

10 Really “Solid” Reasons Why You Should Start A Nonprofit Organization

  1. You get to sharpen your business and personal vision by not focusing on profits
  2. The world opens up when you operate with a sense of social responsibility
  3. Your business can stand out from competitors who are focused on profit
  4. You can gain more recognition, goodwill and trustworthiness in the marketplace
  5. You can discover hidden passions, talents or gifts through your nonprofit
  6. You can unlock new opportunities that are exclusive to nonprofits
  7. Your nonprofit can get fueled with grants and donations from diverse sources
  8. You can share your knowledge, experience and wisdom with the world
  9. You can qualify for programs from large organizations that support nonprofits
  10. You can develop a new source of income by deducting a reasonable salary

How The Process Works

6 Steps To Get Your Nonprofit Off The Ground:

  1. Create your educational and charitable mission and start giving back asap
  2. Create a website, landing pages, and social assets for your nonprofit
  3. Register your nonprofit with the Secretary of State
  4. Register your nonprofit with the IRS to obtain tax-free recognition
  5. Register your nonprofit with various organizations
  6. Get qualified for grants, secure donations and sell products and services

Special Programs For Nonprofits

There are a plethora of programs that are exclusively reserved for nonprofit organizations. These are programs offered by large organizations and companies who believe in philanthropy and operate with a sense of corporate social responsibility themselves. When you start thinking about giving back with the purpose of making a positive impact, the world opens up to you.

Some examples of corporations that support nonprofits:

  • Google For Nonprofits
  • Microsoft
  • Adobe
  • Facebook
  • Dell
  • World Bank Group
  • Airbnb
  • Okta
  • Sage Foundation
  • Shopify
  • Zoom
  • Lenovo

Compliance Matters

Staying compliant with the different entities is integral to the success of your nonprofit.

Getting tax-free recognition, acquiring grants and donations, and advancing your mission ethically is one thing, staying compliant with the organizational requirements is quite another.

For example, you need to stay compliant with State rules, IRS rules, Employment Rules, Franchise Rules, Nonprofit Code Rules, Donor and Grantor Rules (if they furnish grants and donations). It can get complicated quickly if you are not on top of things as they arise. Consider hiring someone who understands these technicalities to help you stay compliant.

The bottom-line is that you can tap into these amazing resources that exist only for nonprofits, but you have to stay in compliance with the prescribed rules and conditions. But, that’s like everything else in life, right? No surprise there.

The Key(s) To Success

Here are some keys to success:

  1. Focus on running your organization like an organization – not like a hobby
  2. Focus on managing your internal affairs in an organized manner, like a business
  3. Focus on the “bigger picture”: what motivates you beyond “revenue”
  4. Focus on the concept of “educating and empowering”, that’s a good start
  5. Think about branding, intellectual property, contracts and marketing
  6. Manage your nonprofit in a professional, structured and disciplined manner
  7. Your website is the key to success – integrate horizontally and vertically
  8. Focus on educating, sharing your knowledge and empowering others
  9. Diversify your portfolio by creating and sharing a diverse range of assets
  10. Be confident in yourself and your ability to influence the masses
  11. Know that you have knowledge that is worth millions of dollars

In Conclusion

Whether you are a first-time entrepreneur who is looking to explore your inner gifts and talents or an experienced business owner who is looking to have a deeper impact in your community, the nonprofit route is an excellent one.

The world opens up to you when you commit yourself to a social and charitable purpose.

I leave you with this –

Don’t think of charitable or social missions only in terms of monetary terms. Sharing your knowledge, insights and experiences or training, coaching and mentoring or educating and empowering others – these are prime examples of charitable and social missions – as long as you can focus on the big picture, beyond “profits generated”.

I hope this post has given you atleast a little bit of inspiration and motivation to think about starting a nonprofit organization, because, trust me – it’s worth it!!


Watch the Nonprofit Crash Course Presentation:


Good Luck In Your Mission!!

Sid Peddinti