Remote Work Tips: 5 Essentials for Running a Non-profit from Home
What’s better than doing something that makes a real difference in the world? Doing it from home. In addition to the convenience of being able to tackle tasks from the comfort of your own home, operating a non-profit out of your own residence through remote work is a good way to cut out the costs associated with renting an office space. Starting a non-profit organization is no small task, so it is important that you surround yourself with people who share your values and have the right experience to help you along the way. In today’s blog, we’ll be sharing some tips on how to get your non-profit off the ground and run it from home.
Define (and Refine) Your Non-profit’s Mission
If you’re even considering starting a non-profit organization, chances are good that you already have a cause that’s near and dear to your heart. Whether your mission is to help underprivileged children, rescue abandoned animals, or provide assistance to the homeless, you want to make sure that your mission statement is clear and well-defined. Not only will this help you determine the focus and scope of your non-profit’s mission, it will help your non-profit build its own distinct identity and niche in the larger world of non-profit organizations. Since you’re just starting, you’ll probably want to focus your efforts locally and maybe think about expanding the scope of your mission to a larger area later on as your non-profit (hopefully) grows in funding and resources.
Assemble a Trusted Team
To aide with legal matters, the acquiring of funds, and important decision-making, it is a good idea to appoint a board of trustees. Ideally, these should be people who have relevant experience, an interest in helping your cause, and most importantly, your earned trust. Given the small budgets that most non-profits have to work with, it is likely that those you recruit will be volunteering their time and efforts to help. As such, you’ll have to be accomodating of your team’s work schedule and personal life as they will likely have other commitments to balance. Whenever possible, allow your team to remote work from their home or wherever is most convenient for them.
File Your Paperwork
To be officially recognized as a non-profit and gain tax-exempt status in the United States, you must file for 501(c)(3) status with the IRS. As is often the case when dealing with bureaucracies, applying for and gaining 501(c)(3) status is not an overnight process— it can take up to a year for the IRS to get back to you with a decision after you’ve submitted your application. Depending on your method of application, you will have to pay a user fee of anywhere from $275- $600 for its processing. Due to the costs and complications that come with gaining 501(c)(3) status, it might be worthwhile to consider some of the alternative ways to become involved in charitable and philanthropic causes.
While acquiring funds is not the end goal of a non-profit organization, it is definitely a necessity in order to finance the people and resources that are required to operating one. Two key sources of funding for non-profit organizations come in the form of grants and private donations. To be able to legally solicit donations as a charitable organization, you must register your non-profit in the state in which you incorporated.
To make the most out of your non-profit’s operating budget, it is important to try to cut costs whenever and wherever possible. If you’ve chosen to run your non-profit from home rather than a rented office space, you’re already saving substantially on overhead costs. Other ways to cut costs include utilizing free to aide with communication and collaboration among team members, like Google’s G Suite as well as a free conference calling line. Not only are such collaboration tools free to use, they make remote work possible when you and your team are not able to physically convene for meetings.
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