What is an NPO?

After completing my first post on about my dear friend, Hannah Truscott. I realized I didn’t do to well of a job introducing exactly what my blog will consist of. I have decided to focus primarily on non-profit organizations. I will talk about how they are ran and established and spotlight a few of my favorite companies.A non-profit organization (NPO) is an organization that does not distribute its surplus goods to owners or shareholders but rather distributes it to the cause of their existence and the goals that they have. In order for a NPO to be created it must file with its local or national government. Since NPO’s taxes and bookkeeping are done differently than normal businesses, there laws and tax regulations are also different. There is a broad spectrum of NPO’s, each having versatile intents. These organizations help with the needy, education programs, and good causes. NPO’s could be government, religious, or charitable. In a world driven by money, it is vital to our society’s existence that we have non-profit organizations. They are the good in our competitive and sometimes heartless business world.

According to the National Council of Nonprofits it is very simple to create your own NPO. There are five very simple steps to help you when getting started. The first step is Research. Before your NPO is started you need to know if there is a critical need for the NPO you are beginning. In the US alone there are already over one million NPO. But many of these organizations have to close their doors due to limited funding. Experienced people who teach others about NPO’s devote very little time and don’t show the negative side of what can happen to a new NPO. Step 2 is very simple. Ask Questions! There are six basic questions that you should always asked after you have determined the specific need for a new NPO. 1. Who will be involved? 2. What do you need to do it? 3. When should you file paper work? 4. Where can you get quality assistance? 5. How do you create and sustain a nonprofit organization? 6. Why shouldn’t you create a nonprofit? I know #6 might seem like a stretch after the work you have already put in but you always need to make sure you are making the right decision.  Steps 3 and 4 deal with the painful logistics of paperwork, Step 3 says, fill out all state forms so your accredited a charitable official. Step 4 deals with your federal filings. You need to be careful and research all federal paperwork that deals with starting your NPO. The last step, step number 5, is the “heavy lifting”. In addition to federal filings, paperwork will need to be done with your state. You will also need to establish plans, policies, and procedures for your NPO.

Another key component to NPO’s are the different types and who they deal with specifically.  There are five different categories NPO’s fall into, charitable, educational, scientific, religious, and literary/artistic. Charitable is probably the most obvious. Many assume that every NPO is a charity, while each of them help someone they are all not considered charitable. This section deals with homeless shelters, disability organizations, youth programs, hospitals, health care clinics, animal rights groups, military groups and human relief groups like the Red Cross. The second, educational, primarily focuses on schools, colleges and universities, biology groups, child care centers, zoos, and health organizations such as the American Heart Association. The scientific category deals with cancer research groups, biology groups, environmental groups and medical professional groups like the American Nurses Foundation. The religious category helps with mosques, churches, synagogues, church relief groups and charitable groups with religious principles like the Salvation Army. The final category, literary/artistic, includes symphonies, orchestras, theater groups and other youth music groups like the Drum Corps International. Each category is equally affective and helps thousands of people each year.

After interviewing Lindy McDaniel, and discussing how NPO’s have influenced her community she believes that they are the most effective type of outreach outside of the church. “I have seen my community come together to help one another through local food pantries, Habitat for Humanity, and Engage Atlanta. I’ve seen my surroundings completely reshaped through selfless acts of service”.

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