Starting A Non-Profit
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What is the big deal about a name or logo anyhow?

logo designComing up with a name for your playground or organization is usually the first “official” thing you will be doing. Remember the “name” will be how you are known for the life of your organization. Are you honoring a child? Memorializing someone who you loved? Come up with a name people will understand.

After you have decided on a name of your organization you will need to come up with a logo. But before you design a logo, you must understand what a logo is, what it represents and what it is supposed to do. A logo is not just a picture; it reflects a business’s commercial brand through the use of shape, fonts, color, and or images.

Coming from a design background I did understand that when it came time to sit down and come up with our logo that this was a very important meeting. A quality logo design combined with the branding of an organization or company can become one of the most powerful forces in today’s society. Take a look above at some of today’s most common logos and think about how each has become an icon in today’s world. You want to come up with a great logo design which inspires trust, recognition and admiration for your organization.

Ok so how do you come up with this great logo?

• Brainstorm; sit down around a table with your key people and write down:

1. Who are you?

2. How do you describe your organization?

3. What idea are you trying to get across?

4. What type of image/style are you trying to portray?

5. Write down “key words” which you think of when it comes to your organization

• Check out people who have worked in a similar field and see how they portray themselves through their logo design.

• After you have the above questions answered have everyone start to come up with a few sketches of their own thoughts and concepts. You should have paper, colored pencils and crayons around for this creative meeting. Understandably everyone is not an artist but when people draw their own ideas down some great collaborations come together.

• You want your creation/logo to be memorable.

hadley_logo

• In general it is better to keep your logo design simple and clean. The main idea behind this is that you want the logo to be able to hold up well in all sizes. Remember you will be using your logo as your “calling card” on all of your PR materials, written as well as t-shirts, stationery and even in large scale on a sign.

 

volunteers at hadley's park ground breaking • As important as the image of your logo is similarly it is important to have your text “go” with your image i.e. you don’t want to have a futuristic image and a calligraphy type.

• You should have a great tag line! A tag line is a three to seven word phrase that accompanies your logo. It expresses your company’s most important benefits and or what you want your customers to remember about you. Think of it as the words you want to linger describing who you are.

Hadley's Park Sign

• And last but definitely not least, everyone’s pocketbook will be different and you need to keep this in mind when creating your logo, can your logo look good in black and white as well as color? Do you only have the funds to create a one-color logo or can you afford two-color or more?

hadley's playground at dulles town center sign

Just remember, keep it fun and simple and if you can understand what the image is telling you, you’ve done a great job!

So how did you come up with your logo?

So you want to start a non profit 10 Things you will need to know.

start in scrabble lettersphoto credit: jake and lindsay

First let me say, “Congratulations for wanting to be the change in the world that makes it a better place.” Coming up with a dream is a wonderful thing but actually taking it to the next level and making that dream an organization is both exciting and a lot of work.

Today’s world is filled with paper work whether it be from your state, county, maybe even city and sometimes it feels like it takes weeks on end to go through all of it and at times it feels unnecessary but it is a task that must be completed. You need to make sure that you have covered your entire trail or something will come back to bite you in the end. So PLEASE, make sure you cover all of your bases. Ok, that is my little soap box lesson on “covering your bases” of paperwork. There is so much to starting a nonprofit so let’s just jump in and “go” there are dreams waiting…

1. You need to come up with a name for your organization and you will need to come up with a logo which describes to the world who you are.

2. You need to form a Board of Directors.

3. You will need to come up with a mission statement that explains in one clear sentence what it is you are trying to accomplish and why it is important.

4. You need to file all of you legal paperwork to form your organization.

5. You will need to file with the IRS to get a Tax Id number.

6. You will need to register with the Secretary of State of your organization as a business.

7. You need to open a bank account.

8. Join the professional organization which your organization will help. Start networking with people in that community.

9. You are going to have to come up with a budget for your project and find a way to “fund your dream.”

10. And last but definitely not least, you will need to find volunteers who believe in your mission because it takes a lot of man power to build a dream!

Each one of these is vital to starting and running a successful nonprofit organization. Over the next few months I will dedicate a post to each one of these and then some. I know this might sound like a lot but remember I did it and if I could do it, you can do it! *Cheering*

Although I am your biggest cheering section I would also like to say this information is based on my personal experience and it is my hope to be used to help you as a guide but not to be used in place of legal advice. If you have any questions at anytime feel free to drop me an email or leave it in the comment section.