I am looking to start a Non-Profit organization that focuses on proactively providing education programs for youth and delivering donations of food, clothing, blankets etc. for those in need. My goal with the organization is to provide an equal opportunity for those that do not have the financial or physical means to the resources they require. Our resolution would be direct intervention with the community. Whether in the schools or on the streets, we'd extend our services to meet those that are struggling where they are.
Having worked for various non-profits, both on the "ask" and "give" side, I can tell you that this industry is challenging to say the least. I would 1st recommend you seek to determine what other non-profits in your area are currently serving the same populations you are seeking to support and volunteer with them. This will allow you to see their operations, know what works and doesn't work and also really know what value your organization will add. You may find that others in the community are already doing a great job, but just need fresh ideas and new strategies. In that case, you can seek to instead become a program manager for a project they already have going on, thereby allowing you to start working in this field immediately.
Whether you decide to strike out on your own, or join a non-profit already doing great work in the community, just remember to get involved at the grass-roots level so you are aware of what it really takes to make a sustainable impact in your community.
Check out IRS Form 1023. Take your time with it. Lots of information.
Starting a nonprofit can be a daunting task, but one of the best resources available to you will be the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs at:
They are separate from the federal VA, and have more information on state resources available to Maryland veterans. They also have a list of contacts and resources for veterans like you when it comes to starting such a venture, to even include a free entrepreneurship training program! You will find it on page 29:
My other suggestion would be for you to apply for the ACP mentorship program for additional guidance for this undertaking. All the best on your future plans and goals!
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