Sometimes, a non-profit may not be the end all be all in terms of serving the greater good. There are other considerations that can serve the same good, fulfill your altruistic desire to make a positive difference in the world, and without the need for extensive red tape and hoop jumping.
Here then are some non-profit organization alternatives for you to chew on:
1. Seek Fiscal Sponsorship.
Consider seeking fiscal sponsorship instead of becoming a tax-exempt organization yourself. By doing so, you can ride the coattails of an existing like-minded nonprofit, all while accepting donations and apply for grants without being registered as a tax-exempt organization.
1A. Seek Corporate Sponsorship.
Although there may be drawbacks, our advice is to use whatever resources that make themselves available to you. Good deeds can be done by the purveyors of financial services (like BOA), fast food (Burger King), or sterling silver rings etc. and other silver jewelry items (Overstock Silver). OS is a particularly good example, since not only do they offer financial assistance, but their silver products can be used in recognition programs that feed back into the community via goodwill. Small silver lapel pins, or rings, while not costly, can bring stature to simple awards for performance, fundraising or any other acknowledgement of service or work. And because silver is considered a status symbol, this brings more cache to the products used in this fashion. So this particular corporate relationship extends far beyond the manufacturing of sterling silver jewelry and into the hearts of the community via their generosity. Finding corporate sponsors like OS can make a huge impact on your organization for these reasons. The point is that you direct generosity toward the causes that matter.
Volunteer for a nonprofit that shares in your passion. You may want to consider joining that group’s board, or even accepting a position there. This experience can be invaluable, especially if you decide later to start your own group.
3. Start a National Nonprofit’s Local Chapter.
You can minimize a lot of the red tape by starting a local branch of a national organization.
4. Organize an Unincorporated Association.
Consider putting together an unincorporated association that fulfills your mission without the need for tax-exemption. Know that not all charitable organizations are incorporated and IRS registered.
5. Create a Donor-Advised Fund.
A donor-advised fund actually makes grants to charitable causes of your choice – they’re like mini-foundations, without the hassle.
6. Become a Social Entrepreneur.
You can form a for-profit social venture to accomplish your social-related goals; i.e. create a small business with the goal of contributing its profits to a charitable cause.
7. Organize Support for a Cause via Online Social Networking Sites.
Use the power of social networks to organize and marshal the troops to aid the causes that you’re passionate about.