People frequently contact the Center for Nonprofit Stewardship about how to start a new nonprofit. If this is something you’re considering, we’ve written up a few ways to analyze if starting a new organization is necessary and if so, how you can proceed.

Consider existing nonprofits that may need your help. You most likely want to start a nonprofit organization because you see a need in your community. Instead of starting from scratch, you can join an existing, established organization that already has 501(c)3 status and may also have a donor base, support in the community, and strong programming. Search Google or Guidestar for nonprofits that could use your assistance and consider becoming a volunteer or a board member.

Cross-sector collaborations offer additional avenues. If you’re already a business owner, partnering with a local nonprofit in your field of interest can be a great way to leverage existing resources. Can you become a sponsor of a nonprofit that supports causes you care about? Can you donate your time, office space, or other needed resources to support them? For example, if you have an art gallery and you’re interested in offering art classes to at-risk populations, maybe your business can partner with the existing arts coalition to offer such classes.

Many nonprofits are seeking additional avenues to advance their mission, but don’t have the capacity and many businesses benefit from having a philanthropic arm that helps illustrate their commitment to the community. These kinds of cross-sector partnerships can help nonprofits thrive!

In some cases, these options aren’t viable for you. Maybe you’re not a business owner or your community doesn’t have any established organizations in your field of interest. In that case, founding a nonprofit can be a fulfilling experience and an inspiring way to give back to your community.

Here are some basic guidelines on how to start a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation in Oregon.

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