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Should I Start a New Charity?


September 8, 2021 / fbcadmin

Kerrie Sheaves
Foundational NFP Consulting

Should I Start a New Charity?

What you need to know before you begin a new not for profit enterprise.

Like any great new idea you need to do your homework before launching that new idea as a business or organisation.
But when it comes to charities this seems to be an area where people refuse to do their homework. This is largely because they believe they have such an amazing idea to solve important problems they don’t see being solved by other people.
They think that nobody ever thought of it before but the truth is that, more often then not, someone probably has already started a not for profit group doing just the same work you want to do.
Charities don’t advertise themselves the same way as consumer products like Coca-Cola do. If you can’t see it happening immediately before your eyes then you’re probably not looking hard enough.
That’s not to say that every charity covers the niche aspects of problems that need to solved. Before you begin something new, you need to be clear about exactly what your organisation will do and won’t do. Doing this research will save you a lot of headache trying start a new organisation. It will also ensure you don’t duplicate what’s already working and create unnecessary competition for the tiny pool of funds available.
In Australia there are 57,000+ charities all of them competing for the same small pool of funds. These aren’t just the tax office sanctioned Tax deductible gift charities.
Australian’s give millions of dollars to charities annually.
Why should the stats related to charities and giving matter to you? Because when you create a new charity or NFP (Not For Profit) group you are diluting the available resources. You could also be duplicating work when its not necessary to do so.

Where can you find out whether someone is already doing the work you’re proposing to do?

Before you start you own Charity, start by looking in the following places to see who is solving the problem you want to solve:
The  ACNC charities register – The ACNC has some great resources you can access to learn about starting a new charity and running a charity. Including these great getting tips:

Consider and write down in detail what you want to achieve with your charity, and what your timelines are. This will help you work out how you should set it up. Ask:

      • What is the charity trying to achieve?
      • What will its main activities be?
      • Who is its target audience?
      • What programs or services will it provide?
      • Who will benefit from its activities and programs?
      • Why is there a need for this new charity?
      • How long will it last? Will it be for a one-off short-term project or an ongoing long-term venture?

Check your Local Government Interagency – Most Councils have a list of charitable organisations you can review, through their community team programs.
Ask your local Rotary Clubs and other service clubs – these organisations support many local charities and social services during the year. They are well connected with what’s happening in their communities to benevolent services and initiatives.
Do a Google search –  That might seem pretty straightforward but it’s a quick and simple way to find established services and research what they do and don’t do.
Do a search on Facebook – many community assistance programs have Facebook Pages where they broadcast their activities. That’s where they seek volunteers and contributions/donations. Having a Website can be costly, so Facebook is a alternative many use to avoid that cost.

What should you do if you find an existing organisation already doing the work you were intending to do?

Before you start a new charity and work towards achieving your own goals, ask them if you can help them achieve their goals!
Getting people who care enough to volunteer is a huge task for most small not for profit groups.
Don’t compete against them for the same funding and resources to help the same people and beneficiaries. Why not help them achieve or expand their goals and make good use of the small amount of financial support they get each year.
If you do find a niche service that no-one else is providing, look for organisations that can run along side you. Partnering together to avoid crossing over into each others expertise. Everyone wins that way.
Then go ahead, and get started on creating your business plan. There’s some good information on starting a charity to help you HERE.

Call us to find out more today!


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