Sanat Singha is a technical writer, an editor, a blogger and a web marketing consultant. Contact him at wsigmas@gmail.com

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If you have a particular cause which you’re passionate about, then starting a non-profit organisation could be a great way of working for it. There are millions of non-profit establishments out there. However, there’s always gaps, and causes that will never disappear. Here are some handy tips for starting your non-profit organisation. Hopefully, this will help you work towards changing the world for the better!

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The first tip I’ll offer is to make sure you’re ready for the task. Yes, profit margins aren’t a factor for non-profit organisations. However, the work you need to put in can make running a business look like child’s play. You’ll probably have to work more hours than you’ve ever had to in your life. You’ll have to take on several different roles, especially in the opening period. Financing non-profit organisations is also an incredibly difficult task. There’ll be long periods of unstable finances, and you may go months without a penny going to the people who you’re trying to help. Although you’ll be working for a cause you care about, some of the work will also be exceedingly dull. You can recruit people using job boards like the PNP Staffing Group. However, you probably won’t have the resources at the very beginning. Before deciding to start your non-profit, make sure you know what you’re getting into!

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Next, you need to assess the need for your non-profit. Although they differ from regular businesses, non-profit organisations still have to think about the competition. If you want to start a non-profit, you need to make sure there isn’t already a better-established organisation doing the same thing. To be successful, your non-profit needs to fill a certain, untapped gap. Do some research to make sure your idea hasn’t already been taken. There are various resources for researching non-profits, such as Guidestar. If your cause isn’t being supported like it would through your idea, then go ahead! If your idea’s already covered, then an alternative would be trying to start your own program within an existing charity. A lot of large charities will act as financial sponsors for related programs.

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Finally, make sure you get the word out. There’s another parallel between non-profits and businesses, in that they both require marketing. Your charity is probably going to be supporting a cause which countless people agree with. However, if they don’t know you exist, you won’t get very many donations! Use all the marketing materials you possibly can, especially when you first set up. You’ll need a professionally designed website, and a strong social media presence to raise awareness for your cause. If the issue is local, then a charity event is also a great way of gaining publicity. There’ll probably be different marketing opportunities depending on the charity you’re running. However you do it, make sure you make your organisation visible!

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Getting a non-profit organisation off the ground isn’t easy. However, if you go about it the right way, you can start to make a real difference. Follow these tips and always do thorough research into your cause.