How to Start Your Own Charity

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A lot of people will be passionate about a particular cause. It could be anything, from helping the homeless to protecting the environment. It could be for a big, global issue or a much smaller, more niche one. No matter what it is, if you want to make a difference, you'll probably be keen to give to a charity that supports that cause as much as you do.

This is as far as most people will go, but if you feel this is not enough, what else can you do? One option is to start your own charity so you can give back directly and help those in need from a more personal position. If that sounds interesting, there is a lot to consider before you start, so don't rush; take your time to consider all the pros and cons and understand what it takes to start your own charity. On that note, here are some ideas about what you'll need to do to get started in making a difference.


Work Out Why

You might not like to think of your charity as a business, but in many ways running a charity is exactly like running a business, and so a lot of the same questions apply. The first one, as any business owner will know, is to work out why you want to start this particular organization. What is it you think you can achieve? Why is the cause so important to you? Understanding why you want to do this and putting in all the hard work that will undoubtedly be necessary is a key component in getting started.

So what is your why? There are a number of potential reasons, such as:

- Helping others

- Making a difference in a specific niche

- Increase the reach of your existing business

- Improving your public image

- Making yourself a job in a sector you want to work in

As you can see, some of these motives are not as ˜pure' as others, and therefore some might not be a great reason to start a charity. Of course, if they happen to be a by-product of that charity, that's a great bonus, but if you want to be successful and if you want people to give to your cause, you must have a genuine need to help. With so many charities around, you'll want people to know they can trust that you'll put their money to good use.

If you're only starting a charity because you feel it is an ˜easy' version of a business, you'll need to re-think your position. Charity work is not easy, and if your heart isn't in it and you don't believe in what you're doing, it's better to start a business doing something else instead.


Decide On the Type of Charity

Once you know why you are starting your charity, and it's a good reason why you're doing it, you'll need to decide on the type of charity it is going to be. You can work with the arts, culture, entertainment, health (including mental health), animals, and much more. It really should be something you are interested in and are passionate about because you are going to be the spokesperson for that charity; if you're not able to be enthusiastic about your cause, how will you persuade other people to be and to donate their money or time to help those in need?

It could be that you want to make your community a better place, and this is why you want to start a charity. In that case, there might not be one specific area that it pertains to, but instead, it is something that helps with all aspects of your neighborhood. For example, it could help young people find work, ensure that green spaces are kept litter-free, and connect with local businesses to help the homeless. All of this can be done under one umbrella.

Whatever your charity is going to do, it's something you'll need to decide right at the start, as you can't just have a vague idea about helping others “ this won't entice people to get behind you as they won't know what they're helping with or giving to.


Choose a Name

Deciding exactly what you're going to support with your charity shouldn't be too hard to do. After all, you'll start by considering what it is you want to change in the world and pick something that you're passionate about, as mentioned above.

The next step is to choose a name for your charity, and this is much harder. It will need to be a name that is unique enough not to get confused for something else, but equally, it has to be something that's easy to remember.

The name also has to reflect what it is your charity does and who it helps. Again, this will make it easy to remember, but it will also ensure that those who come across you for the first time will instantly know what you do. In this way, they won't have to spend a lot of time trying to work it out, and they'll know whether it's a cause they support. The less time someone needs to understand what you do, the more chance there is of them donating and helping out.

The name is one of the most important elements of starting a charity, and it needs to be right. Brainstorm a few different ideas and speak to friends and family about what they think would work. It's also a good idea to reach out to the wider community. You could start a poll on social media, for example, asking for people's opinions. It's crucial you listen to the feedback offered if you ask for it (which you should) because even if it's not what you wanted to hear or not what you were expecting, it shouldn't be about you “ if the majority of the general public doesn't like a name or like one you hadn't really thought much about, don't take it to heart. Understand their position and use their information to make changes where necessary.



Once you have the name and the ethos in place, you'll need to advertise your charity. You can't just expect people to find it accidentally, even if it's a niche charity to donate to. Although a handful of people might come across you on the various channels you are using, that won't be enough to spread the word or to make enough money to help those in need.

One way you can advertise is to use Google's grant system for charities. What are Google Ad grants? Put simply, Google Ad grants or Google charity grants are a way to advertise through Google for free if you have a charity or non-profit. Rather than spending potentially thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on Google advertising, you might be able to do the same volume of ads for no cost at all. If you're looking for cost-effective advertising for your charity that works, this could be the best solution of all.

Social media is also a good idea, and it can be free to use. However, in order to make social media free for advertising, you will need to ensure that your post goes viral “ in other words, that many people see it, share it, comment on it, like it, and essentially interact with it in some way. This is known as organic reach, and it's not guaranteed, no matter what you do. Even if it does work, it can take a long time to come to fruition. If you want to start making money for your charity right away, you will need to invest money to have a paid advertising campaign on social media. This brings us to our next point.



Eventually, you'll want a charity that pays for itself as much as possible “ the money people donate will be split between advertising, paying staff members, and (hopefully, the majority) will be given to the cause you are supporting. However, when you are just starting out, you'll need some money behind you so you can let people know who you are, what you do, and put money into practical elements such as having a website, paying your team, getting insurance, and so much more.

This can cost a lot of money, especially if you want to be noticed quickly and look professional while you are doing it. Therefore, it can be a good idea to create a business plan for your charity. In this way, you can speak to potential lenders and show them exactly what you intend to use their money for and how you are going to pay it back. This can make lenders or investors feel more confident that they will get their money back.

You can also look for mentors to help you. They may not be able to put any money into your charity (it will depend on a variety of different factors), but they will be able to help you create your business plan and speak to lenders. This kind of help and advice can be invaluable when it comes to starting something that is so important and has so many different parts to it.

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