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Starting charities: When to Do it Yourself, Hire, and Inspire?

There are many different ways to help create a charity and they each come with different trade-offs between time, money, and execution. We at Charity Entrepreneurship have been thinking about this because there are many charities we think are worth founding. If you want a charity started, everything from directly starting that charity to trying to inspire others to do so through writing a book are possible options. Obviously, each particular case is different but there are likely general takeaways about the plausibility of various approaches. 

Here is a non-exhaustive list of possible ways to influence the founding of a charity in the rough order of most to least commitment, along with some of their strengths and weaknesses:

Do it yourself

If you’d like to see a charity started doing it yourself is the surest way for it to happen. This is also the way you have most control over the implementation of the charity. However, of all the ways of starting a charity, this typically comes with the most time costs and has large financial costs as well.

Hire a team with heavy oversight

This typically gives more time flexibility than actively starting something yourself but comes with many of the financial costs and some loss of control of implementation.

Hire a team with some/minimal oversight

Depending on the level of commitment put in, you could potentially simultaneously oversee several charities created this way. The downside is as your time put in decreases, your level of control also likely decreases.

Advise the charity closest to what you’d like to see

If you can manage to do so, becoming an advisor to a charity similar to the one you’d like to see (if such a group exists) can allow you to potentially steer that charity in the direction you’d like them to go. This doesn’t come with much time or financial commitment.

Inspiring people

You could attempt to inspire people to create a charity by pointing out the reasons to start it. There are many ways to attempt to inspire people to create a charity. You can try books, blog posts, word of mouth, etc. all with the goal of pointing out the good reasons to start a charity and why someone should do it. While the time commitment may vary with this approach, the financial costs here are typically quite limited.

Set up a financial reward to start the charity

Perhaps the least costly in time, setting up a reward for anyone who starts a charity you’d like to see is a common strategy. The financial cost can be fairly high but this method of helping to create a charity comes with no recurring costs.

Thoughts

Are there any strategies you think should be adopted more often? If so, why? Are there any major pitfalls in some of these options that aren’t obvious? Do you have any experience using any of these approaches? If so, what have you learned from implementing them?

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