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Lesley Hoover

Have you contacted the local hospital to explore volunteer opportunities? There's no need to wait until you complete your degree. There are likely a number of volunteer and internship opportunities available to college students like yourself.

I would urge caution on the topic of starting your own nonprofit. There are a tremendous number of great organizations out there and it sounds like you are still cutting your teeth professionally. This is a wonderful long term goal. In the short term, while you gain professional experience and build a network in your field, there will be many opportunities to merge your interests with the great work already happening at existing organizations. Once you begin reaching out to these organizations, I expect you will find them receptive to partnering together. For instance, many organizations host lectures and speaker series - this could be your testing ground to try out what you have in mind and confirm whether it is a true passion of yours. Starting is a nonprofit is a lot of work and a very long road, so I would caution anyone considering it to not rush (particularly someone early in their career). In addition to exploring informal relationships with existing nonprofits that would allow you to accomplish your goals, there is also the option of eventually starting an organization under the umbrella of another nonprofit (whereby that nonprofit would sponsor your tax-exempt status and take on much of the risk and responsibility).

Good luck on whatever you choose to pursue!

Answered 10 months ago

Lesley Hoover
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Tamara Muhammad

Starting a non-profit takes a great deal of time and commitment. If your long-term goal is to work in a children's hospital, you may want to evaluate the amount of time you have to focus on your career versus your passion for starting this nonprofit.

You should research (idealist.org, volunteermatch.com, etc.) to find out if an organization exists that is working on something similar to what you want to do. It would be easier to work within an existing organization to avoid the red tape that you'll have to go through to establish your own. It's not impossible or terribly difficult, but it can be time consuming and requires a commitment from you and some other key people you'd have to recruit to be on your Board of Directors.

I would think about what you are most passionate about and go from there. If you'd like help on setting up a nonprofit I have experience in doing so and can help save you some time.

Answered 2 years ago

Tamara Muhammad