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How to Start a Nonprofit

How to Start a Nonprofit

January 27, 2023

Starting a nonprofit is a very noble goal that requires a lot of hard work and determination. There are many things that you will need to consider and many steps that you will need to follow. MCPL can help connect you with the right resources to get your nonprofit organization up and running!

With Universal Class, you can enroll in a self-paced course to help research your creation process, determine your goals, write a mission statement, market your organization, and learn about the finances that you’ll need to understand (like taxes). In the course Creating and Managing a Non-Profit Organization, you will learn how to create a fundraising schedule, how to measure performance, how to manage relationships in the community, and overall, how to ensure that the mission which inspired you is achieved. Some other courses that might be useful are Delegation Skills, Cross-Cultural Communication, and How to Write a Business Plan.

For people who prefer to learn on a set schedule, you can try Gale Courses’ Starting a Nonprofit. This course is instructor-led and lasts over six weeks. This course will help you determine if nonprofits are the right fit for you and your goals. It will also walk you through how to set up a board of directors and navigate tough dynamics. By week four, you’ll be working on budgets and coming up with strategies that suit your individual needs. Some other courses offered by Gale are: Nonprofit Fundraising Essentials, Introduction to Nonprofit Management, and Marketing Your Nonprofit.

If you need help with fundraising or with the general costs associated with starting a nonprofit, check out Grant Select. With this resource, you can search over 10,000 funding opportunities—from the federal government to corporate foundations. In order to better understand the community that you wish to serve, or to research physical locations, use Data Axle Reference Solutions. This online resource is a collection of business databases that allow you to do market research to learn about certain companies, areas, and neighborhoods.

MCPL offers lots of great books that can help you get started as well. Here are a few:

Numerous organizations also offer helpful information for getting your nonprofit started:

  • The National Council of Nonprofits website offers many useful tools and resources in both English and Spanish. Their recommended first step is “Do your research!”
  • Mainstream Nonprofit Solutions provides help with paperwork surrounding tax exemption status, strategic planning, and board training when getting started.
  • The Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership has a YouTube channel where you can access many of their instructional videos on topics related to nonprofit work.

For additional guidance on starting your own business or nonprofit, set up an appointment with one of Mid-Continent Public Library’s Square One Small Business Services specialists.


Meghan B.
Electronic Resources Librarian

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