I recently wrote an article that outlined ten steps to start a charity, which I thought would be helpful. I have decided to write an article that outlines how not to start a charity. This is because people do not like being told what to do, so I will also tell you what not to do. It should be helpful as well, in my opinion, and also quite humorous. So, here is that article.
Disclaimer: If you take this seriously, and fail in your charity, it is not my fault.
1. Do not have a vision
Visions are qualitative. It is a clear and concrete description of what you hope to accomplish as an organization, that includes, your mission, your service, and who you serve. Charities are similar to other businesses in that they have to accomplish a clear mission while staying true to their values, which also have to be clearly stated and understood by everyone in contact with the company. But, go jump right in without a clear one, and just start your charity. You’re wasting time thinking about a mission when you can just start your charity right now. You can change it later.
2. Choose any old name.
The name of your charity can be what you want it to be. It can be pretty straightforward or you can give it a personal touch. Certain names work better than other names. However, do not stress yourself too much. You can always change the name later. Besides, people donate to you because they want to feel good and not because they remember your name.
3. Do not distinguish yourself as a charity
There are over 1 million charities in the US. You will be combating the same issues you will be facing, in order to be funded by the same people that other charities will want. There is no original idea anymore. Your solution to a problem is bound to be almost identical to a different charity’s solution for the same problem. An example, would be how you solve an area’s water crisis.
4. Do not think too far ahead
All companies end up having issues as well as their opportunities, whether it is three years or five year. Do not worry about any long-term fundraising strategy, operational strategy, a budget etc. Spontaneously manage all of your charity’s unexpected problems. Hope for the best or pray!
5. Do not worry about the IRS
Do not worry about becoming tax-exempt right away. Do it when you feel like it. You do not even need lawyers to help you. There are too many government rules that will stifle you.
6. Websites are unnecessary
Websites are pretty. However, you do not need to have outlines of your goals and projects for people to see, nor is it essential for fundraising purposes. If you do choose to have a website, include all the information that exists about your charity, including the finances. Eliminate all reasons that a person, or group might have to contact your charity.
7. Do not worry about fundraising.
You can put in your own money, and can collect money from friends or family, but bigger donations from grassroots organizations, individuals, grant-making organizations are unnecessary. To get these donations, you will need to have several meetings, calls, and presentations. It is a waste of your team.
8. You have to have a team of unskilled individuals
Your team should consist of individuals who will follow your every whim, without question, because it is your organization and you know what is best for it. You have unlimited expertise. Also, keep your team as small as possible. Delegate your responsibilities freely. It will be easier to control them if you have few employees/volunteers.
9. Start you charity whenever you want
Start the charity whenever you feel like it, whether it takes forever or not. Do not be stingy with your money. It is necessary to keep cash flow going into the organization, but your employees also need to be as comfortable in their living arrangements as the people you are trying to help. Is this not true?
10. Do not worry about making mistakes with your money
This goes along with the idea that people want to help others because they feel good doing it. As soon as donors see an organization that is mishandling their money, they stop donating to the cause, but if you lie about the numbers, you can do whatever you want. People pay attention to overhead, and the ratio, while also having preconceived notions about overhead. So, just throw out a good ratio for overhead, and you are good to go.