Aaron Donald with youth

Building a Foundation: An Athlete’s Guide to Launching a Charity

Athletes and coaches most typically launch what’s known as a private foundation, a nonprofit formed, funded, and controlled by a small group of individuals. Private foundations are subject to several operating restrictions not applicable to public charities. They must donate at least 5% of their assets’ fair market value each year to permissible recipients. Private foundations typically use their funds to make grants or gifts to public charities for charitable, religious, educational, or other causes that help the public. Some public charities act like foundations by making grants to other public charities.

Below is a brief overview of the steps required to take a private foundation from conception to implementation:

Pinpoint the Need

Are you interested in helping kids in your hometown? Or maybe you’d like to bring awareness to a national issue? The first step to creating a charitable organization is to select the audience you plan to serve and define how your assistance to that group is different from other charities.

Create a Brand

Once you know who you’re serving, the next step is to develop your charity’s name, tagline, and logo. It’s vital that you conduct research to ensure your potential brand doesn’t infringe on the trademark of another organization.

Establish the Mission

Your charity’s mission should be a concrete description of purpose and intent. It’s a clear and concise expression of the organization’s primary purpose: what it does, for whom, and the basic service it offers. Missions should be complemented with specific, measurable, achievable, and challenging goals.

Arguably the most crucial step in developing your charity is completing all legal and financial requirements to establish the organization. Failure to do so could be costly down the road.

Building a Team

If you intend to hire staff or utilize volunteers, their recruitment and selection should be completed before you officially launch. Additionally, you should select an advisory board or board of directors to help implement and guide the charity in the right direction.

Creating Buzz

Before launching, you should create your organization’s website, establish its social media platforms, and have a plan for continual content creation. It would be best if you had also had a plan for the charity’s official launch. Who needs to know you exist and why? What’s the best way to reach these stakeholders?

Have a Fundraising Plan

Fundraising is the lifeblood of charitable organizations. Before launching, it’s best to have a plan to ensure that the organization is raising funds to achieve and maintain its mission.

Athletes and coaches have a tremendous ability to make lasting change in the lives and communities of those around them. If built and managed correctly, a charitable organization can have a long-lasting and positive impact on the individual’s legacy and brand. Contact us if you have additional questions about how to build or maintain your charitable foundation.

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