Earlier this evening I was chatting with a business student about building a non-profit. This is an update to my earlier, Launching a Nonprofit the Operation Code Way. Let me preface by saying, start with the problem. What problem are you trying to solve?
First, purchase your URL web domain. Think of your domain as your online title company– the web address– for your organization. Here’s a referral code if you’d like. I use DNSimple and have been since when I wrote the first line of code for Operation Code. Caveat: be prepared to buy your domain soon after doing a search in the input box. A few years ago I searched for a cool .com website, got partner buy in and few days later went to buy it and it was unavailable.
Second, secure your social media handles. Remember the problem you are trying to solve and your audience. The right social media outlet will get you momentum– the wrong one, at the wrong time, will slow you down at the onset. Can you guess what we used at Operation Code when I launched it? Twitter. Why? That’s where the tech crowd hung around in 2013 and 2014ish. Select and use wisely.
Third, file your state corporate documents and secure your EIN with government agencies. State documents will cost you a nominal amount. EIN is no-charge.
Fourth, hold meetups and events. Post where you as the founder are going to be. Gain momentum and get your community excited about the problem you are trying to solve. In the beginning it will just be you, a co-founder and maybe your trusted friend. If you have no office starting out, align with a space and begin holding meetups at that location.
Fifth, put a founding board of directors together. Build a board matrix, broken up by industry type (attorney, entrepreneurs, CPA, influencer, power broker etc). Select founding board members that are as dedicated as you are and who can give either time or money. The majority of boards you have to contribute both. In the future, this founding board converts to a governing board. At this point, your board or your treasurer should be contributing the IRS nonprofit filing fee+ CPA fee to prepare the documents.
Start with the problem and backwards plan from there.
David Molina is an American entrepreneur, founder, and blogger. A son of Mexican immigrants, a former farm worker and high school drop-out, he went on to be the first in his family to attend and graduate from a university and earn an Officer Commission in Infantry. Molina has been a founder, co-founder and launched a wide range of companies and organizations including a veterans nonprofit, featured in multiple news outlets including The Bend Bulletin, Portland Business Journal, Univision KUNP-TV, Humans of Tech, and The Seattle Times.