Starting from Scratch (Part 1): Turning an Idea into an Organization


There are millions of good ideas out there, ideas that would improve communities, ideas that would help fellow citizens. But where do these ideas go? The short answer is nowhere. At this moment, there are millions of acres of good ideas dying on the vine, drying up without the motivation and know-how to bring them to fruition. But what should you do with a good idea? How do you turn a good idea into something that can actually make an impact? Should you turn your idea into a community organization, a nonprofit organization, a PAC or Super PAC?

Think your idea is ready to go pro? Follow these steps and take your idea to the next level (of organization).

1. Test your Idea

The first step is to evaluate your idea and get some feedback. Does your idea solve a problem? If you are looking to start an organization, you need a mission statement. What would your mission statement be? Whom do you want to help? What wrong do you want to right? For what issue do you feel the need to raise awareness? Refine your idea until you can describe what you want to accomplish in one sentence.

2. Invite a Friend

With the problem you want to solve clearly identified and your idea carefully refined, it is probably time to involve other people. Chances are, there are others out there thinking the same thing. There’s more than strength in numbers. There is hope. Set up a Facebook page about what you plan to do. Tell your friends, family and colleagues. Get an army together and prepare for battle. The more people you have in your corner, the more force you have behind your plan, and the more you are obligated to follow through.

3. Too Legit to Quit

Now that you have a small team of like-minded peers together, you’re ready to truly get started. It’s time to get organized. Depending on what your group is trying to accomplish, you’ll need to get set up and registered. If your aims are charitable, you might consider a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Or perhaps you are looking to influence elections. If that’s the case, you will need to look into the rules surrounding Political Action Committees (PACs) and their big brothers (Super PACs). Register with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Select the organizational structure that best fits your organization, learn as much as you can about it, and stick to it.

4.  Create a Brand

Whether you think of it in these terms or not, you now have a product to sell. That product may be a lifestyle change, a message of tolerance or a political platform. Whatever the product, you need to turn it into a brand. Get a logo, a website, some stationery and business cards. Get set up on social media. Be everywhere your audience might be.

5. Look the Part

The underlying importance to creating a viable brand is looking good to your members, to your audience and especially to potential investors. If you are applying for grant money as a nonprofit organization, sporting the garments of a cohesive organization can only help your cause. If you want to be successful, look successful. You’ve seen that movie, right?

6. The Green Monster

You may not like it. It may be contrary to the idea you want to put forward. But, like it or not, all organizations need money, and fundraising is one of the core functions of all organizations. But before you accept a dime, you need a way to process funds. If you have a startup budget well beyond that of most organizations, you can simply hire lawyers and accountants. If, like most people, you need to get set up on the cheap, it’s time to look for options.

Raise the Money is more than a platform for collecting contributions, though that is its primary function. RTM can also process funds for nonprofit organizations, community groups, churches or any other fundraising entity. With rates minuscule compared to cost of hiring legal and accounting services, Raise the Money can help both fledgling and well-established organizations process donations without spending their hard-earned funds on hiring staff to accomplish the same tasks at an exponentially higher cost. Stay tuned to our blog for tips on helping your organization as it begins its fundraising efforts.