Setting up a non-profit association can be very rewarding personally, but you may also encounter some disadvantages that you did not count on at the beginning of this adventure.

You need to focus on good planning in order to make your non-profit organisation succeed.

Following you will find a list of basic steps for starting a non-profit organisation in Spain. To start a non-profit organisation in your country you should also consider your National context and legal regulations in this matter.

  1. Choosing a cause

This is the most important step, deciding on the social purpose of the association. There are many causes to support at national and international level but also at local level.

Before deciding on a type of association, look at the community around you and think about how you can help to improve it. Acting locally is the best way to start supporting a cause.

Consulting types of non-profit organisation that exist in your country can help you to choose a social purpose.

  1. Selecting a name

It seems like an easy task, but think of it as your presentation to society.

It must be unique and easy for donors to remember.

  1. Setting up the organisation legally

Depending on the state and the community, the constitution of the entity may vary, but these are the steps for the constitution of an association in Spain (in Spanish).

One of the key steps for incorporation is to draw up the statutes, as these are the “rules and regulations” by which the non-profit association will be governed.

  1. Apply for a Tax Identification Number

Once the association is legally constituted, you will have to apply to the tax office for a Tax Identification Code/Numbe to identify the non-profit organisation in the required tax returns and documents.

  1. Hire a specialised advisor or manager

Make sure to hire an internal or external advisor specialised in the accounting and taxation of non-profit associations to avoid problems in the future, given the special situations that may arise in this area.

  1. Have a secure source of funding

Whenever possible, the association should start from a financial base that allows it to sustain itself while it builds a solid base of donors or partners.

Without minimum and secure funding, it is difficult to grow the organisation.

  1. Create a network to grow the association

All of the above steps are important, but it is no use having a name and a vision if people do not know about the association.

There are different online channels, which the association can use at no cost, to create a community of like-minded supporters.

Social media are the most effective channels to reach out to the world. Moreover, it is not necessary to invest a lot of resources

  1. Invest in staff

To be successful with your non-profit association, it is important to surround yourself with talented people who add value.

The members of the Board of Directors are an important part of this, as they can contribute knowledge and help the association’s network of contacts to grow, but collaborators and volunteers can also become good allies.

  1. Invest in management tools

To recruit and retain managers, staff and volunteers, it is important to find solutions that facilitate their daily tasks.

Provide them with time-saving management tools. It must be borne in mind that people who collaborate with an organisation do so disinterestedly and in their free time.

We are in the midst of a digital transformation. Discover the benefits of using management software for organisations, some of them are free.

  1. Don’t stop learning

Learning is the basis for continuous growth and avoiding stagnation.

Remember that the management of a non-profit association is similar to that of for-profit organisations.

Generate income, manage expenses and track results to serve the members.

A good way to continue learning is to collaborate with other entities close to our community.

In addition to sharing knowledge, you can also carry out joint events that benefit the whole community.

Starting a non-profit organisation is a process that requires motivation and being well informed on local regulations and procedures.

Good organisation to follow the right steps and a willingness to succeed will make the process as enriching and easy as possible.

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