Many people dream of starting a non-profit organization. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to help people, especially if you can do it full time. However, you have to make sure you stick to your budget. If you don’t, you could run out of money, and the people that have come to rely on you will be stuck with nothing. So it’s important to first design a budget, and then stick to it as best you can. This way you’ll always have what you need. Here are a few tips to get you started on designing a budget.
Make a list
First things first, make a list of everything you think you will possibly need. Do you need a building? What about postage? Are you paying employees or asking for volunteers? Try to get creative, because you never know what will come up. For instance, I help a charity that aids African children, and sometimes little things pop up, like meeting expenses that we never thought about. So try to think of as many things as you can.
Establish need vs. want
There are things that everyone wants, such as maybe a nice building, but it’s not always necessarily possible. Establish what you absolutely need, postage for letters lets say, and put what you want on the back burner for right now. The goal is to get yourself established. Once you are established, you’ll have many more opportunities to bring in money.
Build a donor base as fast as you can
This is important. If you are asking for donations from the public, you need to establish who that public is before you ever make a budget. Otherwise, how do you even know how much you have to spend? Think of what demographic would be most likely to help your cause, and target them. (Churches for Christian groups, for example.)
Make the budget
Don’t just say you are going to budget, actually do it. And do your best to stick to it. If something isn’t working or you end up with more money than you originally planned on, you can make a change after awhile. But at least for a month, try to stick to the budget you originally started with. Every three months we expect to pay about $400 in shipping costs. This includes our postage for mailings, which is something that is necessary. If it costs less than that, great, but we plan that into our budget.
Ask for help
Try to get other people to help you. This can mean teaming up with other organizations or asking for more volunteers. Try to get companies to sponsor or donate to your cause. The more minds you have working on it the better. This also means that more people will know about your organization and will be willing to help you raise awareness, which will hopefully increase your budget.