So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.
The necessary steps required to start a nonprofit are found in the eighth chapter of Ezra. Each nonprofit has their own version of the steps, but generally, all these steps are included. Here are a few more of those steps to consider.
- Ezra had savings (8:24-30). You can serve people in your target population without money, but you cannot sustain service without money. Ezra used those savings dedicated to the project on what was necessary for the project to continue. And, he was careful to recommend stewarding those funds well.
Today, building the savings would look like working with foundations and donors who see your good work and want to be part, but can’t do the work themselves. They entrust you with the dollars, and it is up to you to apply the funding well to advance the mission. Be careful with what you spend your money on as a startup. There are many shiny objects and glittery things you “need” and on occasion, you find out later they weren’t a need. As Ezra says, “Guard them carefully until you weight them out in the chambers of the house of the LORD in Jerusalem…” (8:29).
- Ezra rested (8:32). When you have accomplished a major hurdle, be certain to rest. Nonprofit work is hard and can be emotionally energizing and depleting. Managing your energy is healthy because compassion fatigue is a real condition.
- Ezra celebrated (8:35). After resting, celebrating is in order! You may not have reached your mission, but you can pause to rejoice in the forward momentum. Celebrate in a way that is meaningful to the mission. For example, a nonprofit that focuses on child education may have a fun day at the zoo with educational presentations. A nonprofit that engages in medical relief may celebrate with a gourmet meal that highlights the correct nutrition for that particular demographic. A nonprofit who helps people escape homelessness may have a sleepover for the supporters in a fun location. Don’t party in the same way as other organizations because it’s expected. Feel free to get creative.
- Ezra continued (8:36). When the people reached Jerusalem, they rested, celebrated, and then got right back at it. They reported to the initial investors (donors) and kept doing the work. “They also delivered the king’s orders to the royal satraps and to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, who then gave assistance to the people and to the house of God.” If you share the stories of what was accomplished, you may find those same people giving to you again to continue the mission.
Other books that speak into maintaining a vision is the book of Nehemiah. A great contemporary resource is Andy Stanley’s Visioneering, also based on the book of Nehemiah.
What other things do you find important when starting a new nonprofit (or project)? Tell me on Facebook @HopelesslyHopefulBooks.
© 2020, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org