Creating an Organization: How to Make an Impact

Any good organization must start with a good idea—but it can’t end there. Many people have good ideas, but not every organization succeeds. Success requires more than just a vision and good intentions, it requires proper planning and determination. The Society for Nonprofits recommends you begin your journey by asking a simple question: “Who will benefit from the activity?” Your idea should be clear, unique, and have a direct impact or benefit on others.

If you can answer that first question definitively, you’re on your way to creating a meaningful difference. Here are several practical steps you can take to make an impact with your organization:

Do the Research

An important first step you should take when creating your organization, according to The National Council of Nonprofits, is to do extensive research. Understanding the other organizations out there that align with your goals is key – how can you be different? How can you work together? Are the strategic partnerships to be made?

It’s not all just competitive research, though; it is also imperative that you understand all the rules and regulations that nonprofits have to follow in your area. Starting and running a nonprofit can be both complicated and difficult, and anyone attempting to do so needs to go in knowing exactly what to expect.

Define Your Strategies

Once you have determined whom your organization will target and what kind of competitive and regulatory landscape you are entering into, you should then focus on developing a specific plan for how your organization will make a positive impact. Any organization needs a solid business plan that outlines what its goals are and how it is going to meet them. A business plan is not just a set of intentions for the future, though – it is a road map by which you can judge if the organization is succeeding down the line. From time to time, it will be necessary to compare the current state of affairs with what you had initially hoped to achieve at certain intervals.

By clearly and objectively delineating your strategies, you will both minimize the risk of failure and increase the confidence of your organization’s supporters.

Complete the Necessary Paperwork

The research stage should have informed you about all the steps you will need to take to legally establish an organization. Both the federal government and individual states have certain, often stringent, requirements for starting a nonprofit organization. These sometimes feel like difficult and unnecessary hoops to jump through, but they serve an important purpose. Fortunately, there are organizations (like the Center for Nonprofit Success) that help fledgling nonprofits navigate government requirements and make the process as smooth and painless as possible.

If you are interested in learning more about how to properly manage an organization, the University of Southern California offers flexible online degrees in Public Administration. Learn more about your options – visit /