How to Start a Charity Business

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Increase donations with your charity business.
Increase donations with your charity business. (Image: change image by charles taylor from Fotolia.com)

Americans donated more than $300 billion to charity in 2008, according to Foundation Center. Charity businesses not only aid those in need, but they help create awareness. With increased awareness, individuals will be more eager to donate, especially if a cause is well defined. A successful charity business also increases credibility and reputation, which can be used in future resumes or proposals. The fact that you embarked to promote a charity and have a charity website to show for it is a feat of which many people would be proud.

Determine a mission for your charity business. Start with your own interests. Then research competing charity businesses online to find out how they fulfill the needs of the community, according to The Motley Fool. If you are interested in the welfare of American soldiers, find competing charities that also help American soldiers and determine how they are helping, how long they have been around and how successful they have become. Create a mission statement outlining your mission and how your charity intends to help the community.

Get tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service. Filing for tax-exempt status gives your charity relief from federal taxes and contributions are deductible by donors. Visit the IRS website for the forms and mailing addresses you will need to be exempt from taxes.

File articles of incorporation for your charity with your state's Secretary of State by filling out a form and paying a fee. According to FindLaw, articles of incorporation describe the purpose of your charity as well as legal information like the name of your charity and where your charity was registered.

Write bylaws describing how your charity business will operate, according to Entrepreneur. Bylaws are required for most organizations and are significant in determining the structure in which the charity will operate. Contact the Secretary of State's office in your state to receive bylaw forms.

Receive funding for your charity business by applying for charity grants. Search for charity grants on the Internet by applying for a grant application package on Grants.gov. According to Sisters of Charity Foundation, some charity grants are the Caritas Fund, Responsive Grant and Collaboration for Ministry Initiative Grants. Some foundations, like the Agape Foundation, also gives grants and loans to charities.

Make a charity business website to promote your charity. Either buy a domain name and hosting plan or make a free website with WordPress. Buying your own domain name and hosting plan will increase credibility and professionalism. Fill your website with information and pictures related to your charity and mission. Your mission statement should be seen from the homepage of your charity website. Have a way that users can donate to your cause in plain view. Take advantage of PayPal's donate button by signing up an account and going to the "Merchant Services" section to create a button. Also provide your charity's mailing address for donations. Include your contact information and a privacy statement so that users feel safe providing you with their details when donating and can ask questions about your mission.

Promote your charity business with fliers and ask active charity contributors to spread the word. Become active in your community and host charity-related events so that members in the community can get to know one another as they help your cause and invite others to join the event. Pass out pamphlets and exchange contact information with important members in society to increase exposure and encourage donations.

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