What Are Nonprofit Organizations?
A nonprofit organization is an organization formed to serve and promote a public benefit or cause without a concern for monetary profit. About 1.2 million organizations are registered with the IRS as nonprofit organizations. These consist of:
-Charities such as the American Red Cross
-Foundations such as the Kellogg Foundation
-Social Welfare or Advocacy Organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
-Professional or Trade Organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce
-Religious Organizations such as local churches
All of these are exempt from taxes, as they are promoting a cause other than monetary gain.
How Can You Get Involved?
The first step in getting involved in your community is assessing your own personal skills and interests. Ask yourself: How can I utilize my specific talents and passions for the greater good of my community? There are so many different ways to get involved, so it’s important to find what type of work fits you best. Remember—volunteering shouldn’t be that dreaded weekly commitment; it should be refreshing and fulfilling! There are tons of ways to help children, animals, and people of all demographics and unique needs. Who you help and how you help can be tailored to your personal inclinations.
After deciding what types of volunteer work fit your talents best, you should begin your search for a nonprofit organization or project to help. A great resource to begin your search is www.handsoncharlotte.org. Hands On Charlotte manages several service projects for a number of organizations in the charlotte area. They provide information about how to get started volunteering, and they also separate volunteer opportunities into categories of interest. One can look through the events calendars to find out more about a number of opportunities while also keeping scheduling and availability in mind. Another perk of Hands On Charlotte is that they do not demand a long-term commitment, so those with sporadic schedules should not be discouraged!
Another resource to use is www.volunteermatch.org. Here, you can enter your zip code to find several volunteer opportunities specific to your area. The search provides links to websites with more information about each opportunity. This is a nice tool if you are looking for something close and convenient.
Remember that churches generally have several opportunities to help your community too. Most weekly bulletins highlight the opportunities that your church provides. So, look at your bulletin before just throwing it away next Sunday! Simply talking to your friends is also a way to get involved. A lot of people are giving back to their community, so getting started through a friend is a great way to get your feet wet. It’s often easier to volunteer when you have a familiar face to do it with you! Many opportunities are open to people of all ages, so volunteering with your family or even a group of friends is always an option! Grab someone and get involved.
If you would like your organization to be featured on our Notable Non-Profits page, please contact Frank Harlow, 704-319-3926.