How to start a nonprofit organization

If you’re thinking about starting a nonprofit organization and want to know the key things you should consider before you make your decision, what it really means to be a nonprofit in Hawaii, as well get an overview of the steps to take if you decide to move forward, HANO’s Starting Smart webinar can help. The webinar includes:

Part I: To Be or Not to Be

  • How to determine if starting a nonprofit organization is the right option for you
  • The privileges and responsibilities involved in being a nonprofit
  • Other options to consider if forming a nonprofit is NOT the right solution

Part II: So, you’ve decided to start a nonprofit!

  • An overview of the major steps involved and links to resources to assist you with the start-up process
  • A primer on the major areas of compliance you will need to be aware of at the local, state and federal levels
  • Key things to consider when creating your governing documents and forming your board
  • Resources on nonprofit best practices and for continuing education once you become a nonprofit organization

» Registration fee: $10 non-members; free for HANO members

To register for HANO’s on-demand webinar, click here:Starting Smart: Navigating the Nonprofit Start-Up Process in Hawai‘i

Additional resources to guide a nonprofit start-up

Use the Buddy System

Everything is better with a friend by your side – or in this case another nonprofit. Grant money seems like an easy and obvious option for a nonprofit that is still new. But grant money is not as easily attainable as you might think; especially if you have yet to build up a reputation. Look for a similar organization that can help you get started with finding grants. They will have a list of organizations that gave them grant money that would likely be willing to give to your nonprofit since your missions are similar. The government can also be a great source for nonprofits that need financial assistance. Websites like and offer places to search for nonprofit grants and funding. From these websites, you can specify which state you’ll be starting your nonprofit in, and find specific funding at the state and local level for your organization.

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Finding another organization with a similar mission can be helpful in a variety of other ways besides finding grants, with tips and insight into everything you’re about to be doing. They’ve been through everything already and should be able to guide you. The common interest in your goals will be an instant connection among organizations, meaning you’ll be on the same page.

Don’t focus so much on finding money and then starting your nonprofit. Instead, build your nonprofit as you try to gain 501(c)3 status. If you’re passionate about your cause and people know it, they will, in turn, be excited to help you. But like we said, money doesn’t grow on trees. So, how did your nonprofit handle financial problems when you were starting out? Don’t forget to check out Cause Camp to really dig into starting and maintaining nonprofits in a whole new way.

So how much does it really cost to start a nonprofit? Download the Ultimate Budget Guide and find out. 

Click to download the Ultimate Budget Guidepageonebudget

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