Your passion has led you to establish a non-profit to serve your community. Now what? Here’s an outline of what your non-profit should achieve month by month for its first year. Following these steps may not guarantee success; however, this roadmap will ensure that you lay the firmest foundation for longevity and success. Good luck!
Month 1: Vision and Planning
- Define your mission, vision, and values. Live it!
- Draft a business plan, including a budget and fundraising strategy.
Month 2: Legal Structure and Registration
- Choose a legal structure (e.g., 501(c)(3) in the United States).
- Register your non-profit with the appropriate government authorities, such as the IRS. Complete your GuideStar profile and register with Charity Navigator — both platforms can help legitimize your non-profit.
Month 3: Board and Governance
- Select and onboard board members.
- Adopt governance policies, bylaws and committees. Committee examples include board of directors, programs, human resources, budget, technology, fundraising and marketing/advertising.
Month 4: Fundraising and Financial Management
- Create a fundraising plan and establish initial funding sources.
- Set up financial management systems and open a bank account. Having non-profit status opens your organization to financial perks such as lower transaction fees, tax-exempt status, free investment services and access to financial advisors.
Month 5: Branding and Marketing
- Adopt your non-profit’s brand identity and logo.
- Start building a website and social media presence.
Month 6: Programs and Services
- Plan your organization’s programs and services.
- Create programs (who, what, when, where) and find partners to assist.
Month 7: Compliance and Reporting
- Ensure compliance with local laws and regulations.
- Set up a reporting system for funders and stakeholders.
Month 8: Staff and Volunteers
- Recruit and hire essential staff members.
- Create a volunteer recruitment and management plan.
Month 9: Marketing and Outreach
- Go live on your website and social media profiles. Remember to consider your audience when choosing social media profiles to maintain.
- Formalize a marketing and outreach strategy to raise awareness.
Month 10: Fundraising and Grant Writing
- Diversify fundraising efforts, including events and online campaigns.
- Perform grant research and write for potential funders.
Month 11: Reporting and Evaluation
- Launch your reporting system for donors and stakeholders.
- Begin evaluating your programs and service impact.
Month 12: Year-End Review and Planning
- Revisit the first year’s successes and challenges.
- Anticipate the coming year, considering lessons learned.
Glint Advertising would love to partner with you in launching parts or all of your business plan to serve. Please consider us when the time arrives.