Jonathan Standefer: Starting A Nonprofit

Jonathan Standefer is a former business owner who says that he feels fortunate right now, because he has the time and the resources to do some traveling and writing. Even as he does so, he is thinking about his next move.

"I would like to start a company or nonprofit that benefits others, such as Toms Shoes or Charity Water," he says. These are two good organizations for someone like Jonathan Standefer to model a new enterprise. Both are working to make the world a better place. Toms, which is usually stylized as TOMS, is a company based in Playa Del Rey, California, with a non-profit arm that is committed to providing shoes to children in need by donating a pair for every pair that the for-profit arm sells. Charity Water, meantime, is a nonprofit that brings potable drinking water to people in developing nations; to date, the organization has helped to fund projects that have improved the lives of more than four and a half million people.

Building a new nonprofit from the ground up takes a lot of work, as Jonathan Standefer knows. The first step is defining a purpose and seeing whether a nonprofit is even necessary. Organizers need to understand what their purpose would be and who would be involved in building the organization. If that difficult first hurdle is cleared, then the formal steps of filing articles of incorporation and applying for tax-exempt status come next, along with registering with the states where the nonprofit will be operating in.

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