How do you figure out what your community actually needs?

When starting a nonprofit organization from scratch, data is your best friend and will do all the heavy lifting for you!

If you’re struggling to define your organization’s mission and programs, there are likely data available at other nonprofit organizations, universities, or local government.

Here’s an example of how this works:

A few years ago, I attended a meeting at the United Way here in Baton Rouge and learned about the ALICE study. ALICE is an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. These are households or individuals who live above the federal poverty level but make less than the cost of living in their geographical area. This means they can have full-time jobs and still are not able to make ends meet.

One data point that stuck out to me, in particular, was specific to single mothers who can’t afford childcare but can’t afford to miss work to stay at home with their child. This is the need and the exact data that can define the mission and programs/services for a nonprofit organization.

A key step BEFORE starting a nonprofit is research.

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