Working for a Cause: How to Start a Foundation
How to start a foundation? For those wanting to do some good in the world, one might consider starting a foundation to help the fight against global poverty. A foundation is a nonprofit that supports other charities and causes by funding their operating costs or by giving out grants. Donations are given to a foundation from various groups, individuals, and businesses. An anti-poverty foundation could, for instance, use donations to fund the projects of other humanitarian organizations or to give as scholarships to students who have bright ideas to change the world. Does creating a foundation seem like a rewarding challenge? Here is what’s important:
Decide on Private or Public: A private foundation usually receives funding from only one place, either a specific business, individual, or family. Inversely, public foundations must have their income source coming primarily from public donations. Public foundations generally have fewer governing restrictions.
Devote Time and Effort: A foundation takes just as much work as running a business, so there needs to be passion for it to stay afloat. There will be administrative duties and other menial tasks that seem to take away from helping the anti-poverty cause. For instance, when starting a foundation, one must create a set of bylaws that lays out the details of how the organization will be run. They should include things like conflict-of-interest policies and the board selection process. These duties can’t be avoided if one wants a sustainable, successful foundation. Stay focused on the cause!
Find the Right Board Members: When recruiting board members for a foundation, it is best to get talented people from a wide variety of groups and backgrounds who are passionate about ending global poverty. The reason for this is that it will expand the foundation’s support base to a much larger population than if the board all came from the same professional or social group. Having a diverse board will open up the foundation to much greater networking opportunities and a wider set of innovative ideas.
Be Responsible with Money: Make sure to keep clear bookkeeping records of how all money is spent in the foundation. Record all administrative costs, where each grant goes and how much is awarded, and any other expenses of the organization. One wouldn’t want the foundation shut down because it was careless with donor money.
Figure Out Funding Criteria: A foundation should set up clear expectations for what it wants from applicants in order for them to receive awards. Decide on important criteria such as grant application deadlines, the amount the foundation will award, and what kind of programs the foundation wants to fund. Be as specific as possible.
Once the foundation has all of these fundamentals down, it’s time to have fun and focus on the most important part- fundraising and awarding grants to support anti-poverty efforts. Good luck!
– Caylee Pugh
Sources: Entrepreneur, Grant Space