Starting a non-profit organization is a huge undertaking, but with the right know-how, you can certainly make a good go of it.

It’s no secret to say that, similarly to many businesses out there, non-profit organizations are currently struggling. They are different to outright charities; in that they can operate for any purpose with the sole exception of making a profit. Community outreach, social welfare, and the provision of sport can all be viable non-profit ventures.

Still, charities and non-profits are close enough in relation that the signs in one can be foreboding for the other. For example, charities in the US have been under threat in recent times, and if the giving spirit isn’t prevalent in the country, then these groups that rely on the generous nature of others to thrive will, quite simply, collapse into nothing.

In these challenging times, there is a crucial need for such entities worldwide. The Netherlands is the prime destination to set one up of your very own, and here is how you can do it!

Research Where You’re Needed

Non-profit organizations are entirely selfless, and they work on matters only of the most pressing social and public need.

The Netherlands is a rather large place, so it’s important to conduct some research to unearth the problems its population are currently facing. If you can find a gap in welfare or rights that aren’t being addressed, then you will be fulfilling a crucial role. For example, in 2018 it was reported that only 23% of US adults got sufficient exercise, which is a startling percentage. A non-profit in the States could work wonders here, so look for the Netherlands equivalent of where a gap needs to be filled, and how you can fill it. In Amsterdam, the population ride bikes a great deal, so focusing on exercise there wouldn’t be fruitful.

Just because you are heading a non-profit organization, don’t assume that you don’t need money! You’ll need to decide whether you want to get by on donations alone, or explore loans, subsidies, and legacies options also. Do your reading and research, because only then can you chart your path forward and find out how best you can practically give back.

Consult Expert Guidance

In any seismic endeavor, consulting some experts for some guidance is always a good idea.

For all the latest information on the Dutch STAK or setting up a self-owning Dutch foundation, you can browse incobusinessgroup.com. INCO Business Group provide optimized advice on how to double your non-profit organization as a holding company, and on what assets and shares you can own. In their own words, it’s all an ideal vehicle to start an NGO (non-governmental organization), which includes non-profit organizations, so it’s worth looking into further if you need to better define your direction.   

In the end, the more tips you have at your disposal, the more you can finely tune and tailor your services. Legal requirements all vary from country to country, as do all the perks. In the Netherlands, there’s no capital deposit for a foundation, which is a huge draw! Experts can also help you keep calm and rational and just organize the chaos, helping you to plan ahead with a level head.

Budget Sensibly

Much like running a business, the heads behind a non-profit organization need to come together and work effectively, especially when it comes to finances.  

There’re also things like corporation tax to consider, which you are eligible to pay in the Netherlands if the organization regularly performs economic activities. Obviously, as a non-profit venture, you should be able to operate tax free, but if you employee lots of staff instead of utilizing volunteers, or if you strive to compete with other non-profits, then tax charges can be incurred. You can earn a measure of profit, but there is a cap of a few thousand euros before you can expect to give some to the government!

Account for inflation in the Netherlands and budget monthly, and your non-profit should then manage to be flexible and efficient in its operations. The ratio between your spending and costs needs to be completely bulletproof on ethical grounds, because otherwise your reputation will be flushed down the toilet. Good luck!

Operate Transparently

For a non-profit organization, the more publicly visible everything is, the more trust and goodwill is built between those giving donations and the non-profit utilizing them.

While none-profit organizations are largely created as a selfless, giving endeavor, many people unfortunately but understandably question their authenticity. After all, many charities are now considered to be ‘shams’ by the wider public, and many non-profits won’t be far behind in those estimations. The old saying is true; it only takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch!  

Therefore, it’s important to make sure that the proof is always in the pudding and to operate your non-profit with total transparency wherever possible. Statistics surrounding your work published feedback from those you’ve helped, and the public endorsements of well-known figures and faces all serve to legitimize a non-profit. It’s difficult to inspire hope in what is becoming an increasingly jaded world, but the more you can push that effort and showcase your good character, the better.

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Stefan Campbell
The Small Business Blog was started in 2009. Aiming to start, help, and grow small and medium sized businesses.