“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life,” Confucius once said.
Pursuing your passion can be one of the most fulfilling jobs in the world, in fact, one that doesn’t feel like a job at all. Today, many people leave the corporate world and create new business start-ups — many of which fulfill more than just “going to work every day,” but rather one that allows them to happily go on to build a legacy for themselves and future generations.
Not only are these times good for starting “for-profit” enterprises; they’re also good for starting non-profits. So, how can you go about starting a non-profit, charitable network? Ash Gujral, a proud San Franciscan, philanthropist, and the founder of the Gujral Community Fund, highlights some easy steps to starting a charitable network in San Francisco.
What is a Charitable Network?
Before we look at the steps to creating a charitable network, let’s look at what they are. The concept behind a charitable network is simple: organizations can gain more support when they have a group of committed people behind them. These people can be donors, board members, volunteers, or simply cheerleaders of the organization. The more support a charitable network receives, the more potential it will have to evolve and grow in all facets of the organization, says Ash Gujral.
Setting up a Charitable Network: What are The Steps?
(1) Develop your mission, vision, and values. If you’ve thought about creating a charitable network, chances are you’ve already implemented your mission, vision, and values. However, if you’ve yet to develop a mission and vision in accordance to your values, think of it as your inspiration and aspirational destination on the horizon. In other words, it’s the reason behind why you’re doing this in the first place.
The mission and vision is a clear and concise expression of the basic purpose of the organization: what it does and whom it serves. Both the mission and vision should be complemented with specific, measureable, and achievable goals. According to Ash Gujral, the bottom line is that your mission and vision should fulfill your core values — the driver to which leads your organization.
(2) Draft your plan. As a part of the planning process, you must include, of course, your mission, vision, and values, and begin to come up with an organization name as well as establishing a point of differentiation (many organizations compete with one another for funding to support the same cause, so this step is important). Then, you should lay out a short-term plan of strategies and tactics including a fundraising strategy, operational and marketing strategies, budget, etc.
(3) Register your organization. In order to operate as a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, you must register the organization as a 501(c)(3). It is also recommended to have both a lawyer and an accountant that has experience working with non-profits to advise you on the necessary steps to registration and operation in compliance with federal rules.
(4) Begin to fundraise. While you may put your own money into your charity, you’ll also need support from others, says Ash Gujral. You could gain support from friends, family, or colleagues, but you’ll also want to reach out to grassroots organizations, individuals, and foundations. While this can be a challenging step, it’s also one of the most rewarding. Whatever happens, don’t get discouraged. Fundraising for your charitable network can take significant time and energy.
(5) Build an advisory board. Your advisory board should be made up of people with significant non-profit experience; they will be the ones to help you launch your organization. Once the charitable network is up and running, the board should expand to include donors, potential donors, and people with a large network of fundraising contacts.
Ash Gujral on The Gujral Community Fund
Ash Gujral knows what it takes to run a successful charitable network in San Francisco. When he started his charitable enterprise, The Gujral Community Fund, he knew that building good, relationship-driven fundraising networks was a key priority for his organization and continued to work hard at it, streamlining its growth day after day.
The Gujral Community Fund aims to focus on the mission of ensuring that families in San Francisco have safe homes in which to live, fresh and nutritious food to eat, access to prenatal care, and safe and engaging outdoor play spaces within their neighborhoods.