Good Ideas to Start a Charity

Your charity and the ideas you implement can change lives, including yours.
Your charity and the ideas you implement can change lives, including yours. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Most folks start a charity because something or someone near and dear to their hearts compels one or more sympathizers to actively take up the cause. Typical examples are Elizabeth Taylor’s HIV initiative launched when her friends died of AIDS and John Walsh’s missing child charity, started after his son Adam was abducted. Your desire to start a charity should always begin with a personal and compelling reason, but if your general desire to be an agent of change isn’t focused on one issue, consider several and have faith that the right cause will choose you.

Ideas for Starting a Children's Charity

You’ll come up with plenty of great ideas once you identify your desire to help children. Select high-risk, low-income neighborhoods, identify kids in need of help, pair them with mentors and oversee a variety of activities for the matched teams. Raise funds by framing artwork done by the children in the program and auctioning them off. Interest the media in your charitable efforts by sending press releases out with human-interest stories. When you work with a child-focused charity, more ideas will come along every time you turn around.

Ideas for Starting a Charity to Benefit Animals

Some ideas for becoming involved in pet and wild animal causes include forming a group to support a local animal shelter or starting a “friends of the zoo” volunteer effort to tackle chores around the facility. Amass a following of pet lovers to help throw adoption fairs at malls so homeless cats and dogs find good, permanent homes. Start a charity committed to raising funds in support of an African wildlife ranch dedicated to studying primate behavior, rescuing endangered species or educating people about species facing extinction.

Ideas for Starting an Environmental Charity

Come up with ideas that will appeal to the conservation and green sensitivities of the charitably minded in your community. Figure out what neighbors see as environmental issues that aren’t being addressed and use that as your jumping-off point. One of the best ideas for launching an environmental charity is to use the Barack Obama campaign committee approach for fundraising: people don’t mind donating $10 to a cause they support while a bigger check may be out of the question. This is a great idea for generating cash for your charity start up-efforts. The Internet helps to streamline the cash flow from these small donors to the organization.

Ideas for Starting a Local Education Charity

Identify the community school district with the worst grades, test scores and drop-out rates and make it your mission to support it by launching a charity. By choosing one institution for your philanthropic efforts, people with checkbooks can identify with local faces, facts and figures. Faceless education programs do good work, but your idea to launch, for example, a program that matches kids in need with community members for the duration of a school year personalizes your mission. Run with this idea and it won’t take long before you’ll see the changes your charity makes in the lives of mentors, the children they nurture and most of all, yours.

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