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It is incredibly difficult to resist a dog who needs ownership or, at the very least, companionship. Yet, many individuals make the choice to walk away from a dog, ending a relationship of trust. In some cases, dog owners are unable to keep their dog and must make the most difficult and heart-rending decision to take their dog somewhere with the hope for a dog adoption by a loving individual or family.  And, as is the saddest truth, there are dogs kicked off property and left for dead.

If you are starting a nonprofit dog rescue organization, you have an open heart for dogs and want to care for their needs. Building a nonprofit is a challenging, yet a rewarding one, and you’ll find in the following steps some ways to make this effort streamlined along the way. Let’s first define this fact: a nonprofit organization, also titled “a nonprofit”, is not identified by the absence of any profit. A nonprofit may create a profit; however, those profits are reinvested as the organization or company determines. Typically, the profits benefit the intention and structure of the nonprofit, while improving or relieving the situation of the recipients of funding received.

To begin building a nonprofit dog rescue organization, you’ll want to first create the foundation for the work ahead, commonly titled a “business plan”. For your nonprofit, you’ll compile a non profit business plan template that will specifically meet two initiatives: first, you’ll create research and reports that will inform your nonprofit; second, you’ll encapsulate various elements of the nonprofit in one document, creating a full-spectrum image of the nonprofit. Following are the steps you’ll take to create the roadmap of your organization:

Establish the Legal Entity of the Organization

One of the first efforts to make is found in the establishment of the legal entity for tax and legal purposes. To do this, choose a name for the dog rescue organization and work through the requirements of the state in which you live to form a nonprofit organization. This may take some time, therefore, it’s the first step in building your nonprofit.

After completing the required forms, apply for a tax identification number with the Internal Revenue Service (although the organization may never pay taxes), and obtain a bank account for the nonprofit. Add at least two individuals who have signing and legal privileges in the financial aspects of the organization. This helps ensure transparency in financial dealings.

Create a Board of Directors

The board of directors of a nonprofit holds a fiduciary responsibility for the organization; as such, they will make decisions and provide direction overall for the operations, as well as financial oversight of the organization. The primary responsibility of each board member is to raise funds for the nonprofit and expectations are typically high for board members to make substantial personal gifts to the organization. Create a plan for the board and use such tools as Roberts Rules of Order for meetings to create standards and protocols.

Develop the Initiatives of the Organization

In concert with the board members, develop the initiatives for the dog rescue organization. Determine the structure of management, purchase of property, location of facilities and construction of the facilities. As the organization develops, add specific fundraising events to spotlight the cause and raise funds, driving traffic to the nonprofit via an organization website.

Complete the Nonprofit Business Plan

To complete the dog rescue business plan, you’ll want to create a demographic of the patrons who may join your nonprofit. Consider who the typical dog lover and owner might be: ages, socioeconomic level, likes and dislikes, interests and activities, plus other identifiers that help form a single image of the patron who will be involved in your nonprofit.

This will assist in the advertising or marketing efforts of events and announcements. In a similar fashion, consider other dog rescue nonprofits who may create a competitive challenge for your dog rescue nonprofit. How do competitors raise funds? What kinds of facilities are others offering? What is the structure of other organizations? These questions will also assist in building the business plan.

In addition to the above, include a financial plan and forecast; outlining expected donations or income and anticipated expenses, including the costs of acquiring land, building facilities and supporting offices, as well as dog kennels and runs, equipment, furnishings and supplies. The more details this plan and forecast can offer, the better prepared the dog rescue organization will be to secure funding, if needed, or acquire donated funds.

Include in the business plan marketing strategies that will be put into place. Will social media callouts be created and used regularly? Will the website allow for donations online? How will the main fundraising events occur: via formal events or family-oriented fun run/walks with dogs? Ideas can be generally formed and placed into the business plan to indicate the main methods behind fundraising.

Ensure the business plan includes an operational outline. The operations of a dog rescue organization has several specific targeted needs, including dog care and feeding, dog health assessments and veterinary care, routine maintenance and cleaning, and management overseeing the facilities. An operational plan includes the roles and responsibilities for all employees and volunteers, which is critical for optimal performance of the nonprofit.

When the business plan is completed and reviewed, your dog rescue nonprofit can secure funding from investors or lenders, as desired. Your plan will also serve as a significant roadmap for the fundraising efforts of the organization, outlining the future plans for saving and re-homing dogs in need of friends and family for years to come. Wishing you the best success!