For those of you that know me, you know that I am a serial entrepreneur. I have extensive experience in building and buying businesses. Now, though, I own a few non-profits. God has pressed on my heart that life isn’t about building bigger barns for yourself, but rather helping others build barns for themselves (Luke 12:16-21). In today’s blog post, I want to help you understand how you can run a non-profit effectively. I always say that “the more we can do to have an impact in the world, the better off we all are.”
3 Keys to Running a Successful Non-Profit
1. Align Your Business with A Higher Mission/Purpose
I truly believe one of the reasons Tricord Global has been so effective is because David Briggs and I believe in the mission of micro-finance. Our heart is to help pull the people of God out of poverty, but we don’t want to just teach them how to fish. We have seen that donations and giving is critical in times of need and emergency. However, this can create welfare societies that aren’t able to pull themselves out of poverty, but rather depend on the giving of others.
David and I knew we could be a part of the solution, so we decided to do something about it. If you don’t know what you’re mission is or you don’t truly understand your motivations behind it, you will have a hard time raising funds and appropriating them effectively. Get aligned with what you feel like is your higher calling in life.
2. Build a Board of Directors
Typically, you have to have a minimum of 3 people to form a board for a non-profit. This board is set up in order to keep you accountable. I know that I am an entrepreneur through and through. This means I am an idea guy. My board helps me decipher if the ideas I have actually align with what we should be doing, and they help implement them. Boards most often help non-profits stay accountable with their finances as well.
This board should also be filled with people who align with your values. Because of that, they will keep you motivated. I have been on boards for many non-profits as well as have built them for my own companies. I cannot overstate the value of having a solid board of directors on your team.
3. Take Care of the Legalities
Building a non-profit sounds fun and heartwarming, which it is. But, it does involve some serious legal tasks as well. I recommend you get a lawyer who specializes in non-profits to help you out with these things. I have a fantastic lawyer that has been working with me for some time, and I can’t tell you how helpful it has been.
Here are some of the things you will need to work out legally: you will need to file for an EIN (taxpayer ID number), develop articles and bylaws, file for status with the IRS, and file with your state.
It is important you have experts in this area, you cannot afford to mess these things up!
I hope this post has helped you, and if it has, please share it! We are currently raising money to send two shipping containers of medical supplies to Senegal and Nigeria via Project C.U.R.E. Please consider donating whatever you can here. They are a non-profit that I admire, and let me tell you, they do stuff right!
Hi Billy. I am a former business school student, I don’t know if you remember me, but my husband Joseph and I are wanting to buy land and build cottages for a ministry where people can come to recoup and facilitate healing for marital issues, including those caused by sexual brokeness. Should we get land before we apply for our 501c3? Also, we would like to divide the land up. 1/2 cottages for the ministry, 1/2 cottages to actually rent out to create a stream of income. Do you have any knowledge if we will have to partition the land and keep one for ministry and the other for business for legal purposes? We are looking to do this in Idaho and may be getting land soon.
Thank you! – Heather-
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