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How to Start a Youth Sports Non-Profit
Starting a youth sports organization to encourage young people to participate in sports and promote sporting activities is not an unusual reason to start a non-profit, and is particularly encouraged in areas where the majority of residents live at or below the poverty level and where recreational activities are few. Sporting activities are vital in efforts to give young people purpose and a sense of community and to discourage them from criminal activities and gang affiliations.
Familiarize yourself with all the government entity requirements related to setting up a non-profit. Visit your state's business portal to determine what forms you must complete to set up a non-profit entity and get a business license. You must also check with your local municipality to see if they have business licensing requirement. Additionally, check with your local child protective services to determine what regulations you must comply with in terms of protecting the youth in your care, and ensuring that your staff and volunteers are suitable to work with young people and do not have criminal histories.
Check if your organization can meet the Internal Revenue Service's requirements for a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization and tax exemption. Dependent on your organization's mission, you may also qualify as a "qualified amateur sports organization" if you have the intention of "conducting national or international competition or developing amateur athletes for national and international sports competition." It may take the IRS approximately six months to process your application.
Locate a venue for your activities and how your equipment will be supplied. A local school or church may be willing to work with you to provide facilities and the loan of equipment, particularly, if their pupils or young congregation can participate in the organization.
Recruit volunteers to assist you to run the organization. Your articles of incorporation will have specific requirements as to the make-up of the business entity and an executive board, but you will also require willing helpers to assist in the sporting activities and fundraising. Local colleges may be a good source of volunteers, especially, if they have students studying sports sciences and pediatric social work. In addition to ensuring that volunteers are suitable to work with young people, you should also ensure that some are trained in first aid and CPR.
Find an attorney who can discuss how you can protect your organization from litigation, particularly in terms of any young person that sustains an injury while participating in activities. Check with your local bar association to find lads for attorney that may be willing to provide pro bono (free) advice.
Get advice from pre-existing youth sports organizations. Use other people's experiences to assist you make good choices.
Do not rush the initial set up of your organization. Your success will be determined by how thoroughly you attend to the many pre-requisites of setting up a non-profit. You may be luck to live in an area with a non profit resource center that assists with their set up and provides ongoing advice.
Helen Harvey began her writing career in 1990 and has worked in journalism, writing, copy-editing and as a consultant. She has worked for world-class news sources including Reuters and the "Daily Express." She holds a Master of Arts in mass media communications from Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.