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Starting a Non Profit for veterans


Bernice Williams Marietta, GA

I would like assistance in starting a Non Profit for veterans

1 August 2019 4 replies Mentoring



James Mingey Oregon City, OR

Whether your NP or Profit, sustainable income for your mission is key. Fund raising from contributions, especially repeat donors, is hard work. Get a Board willing to shoulder some of that work.

Although working at NP would be a great way to experience the nonprofit world, partnering with an existing NP can accelerate your niche. But of course its got to be complementary to your partners mission. For example if you want to do Veterans housing partner with an experienced housing provider and bringing veteran housing connections to a real need in the community

8 August 2019 Helpful answer


Jennifer Polhemus Santa Monica, CA

This advice may be hard to hear: consider working for an existing nonprofit, or at the very least partner with one before striking out on your own. In the future, you'll then have a track record and better understand about regulation, heeds analysis, annual reports, stakeholder communications, grants, advisory boards, etc. because you will have learned in the context of an existing, successful nonprofit organization. Failure rates for small, independent nonprofits are high, and you want to spend your time and devotion productively.

Running a nonprofit is even more complex than running a for-profit business. Administrative tasks and expenses can end up diverting time away from your passion.

So try this -- figure out your particular passion within the "veterans" world, and then take a hard look at whether that area is being served (and served well) by an existing NGO or agency. What would YOU do to make things better? What evidence can you find (i.e., research) that supports your method/improvement? Then make friends with an existing nonprofit and pitch your idea(s).

If you want this to be a paying job for you, then include some solid ideas for funding, because new ideas/programs need new funding. Many cities have nonprofit resource centers that will help you, such as Also, check out Nolo Press; they have great books on nonprofit management.

Best wishes!


Jim Schreier Milwaukee, WI

Research - Research - Research
AND: what's the mission/vision for your non-profit? In particular, how does it differ from the many, many non-profits that already focus on veterans?
I've been providing career assistance and publications aimed at veterans for several years now. I've found it extremely difficult to connect -- even with free materials -- because of so many organizations out there doing similar things.
So again, your mission/vision is critical -- particularly how is it going to be different!


John Faber Arlington, VA

Hi Bernice,

I recommend looking at resources available on the internet that can provide more information with starting a nonprofit organization. is a great place to start.

Hope this helps.


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