How to Start a Charity as a Teenager

Do you dream of changing the world—but you’re only a teenager? Your age doesn’t have to determine the impact you can have on others. Whether you’re just learning to drive or getting ready to turn the tassel on your high school graduation cap, you can start your own nonprofit as a teenager. Here are some beginning steps you can take:

Determine Your Passion

Maybe you or someone you’ve known has been affected by a tragic event or illness. Perhaps you’ve seen a group of people in your community or school struggle to meet basic needs, or maybe you just have an innate desire to help others. No matter which camp you fall in, we recommend asking yourself what you’re passionate about and why.

Have you been inspired by a family member who has faced cancer? Have you noticed other kids at school who don’t have access to new school supplies? Do you love to spend your time playing an instrument or a sport? These can make great starting points for determining what your passion is and why you’re passionate about it. We suggest writing down your thoughts or starting a list, as this can help shape what your future charity’s mission and vision will be.

Shadow Other Charity Founders

No one knows what it’s really like to run a nonprofit on a daily basis like someone who has already founded one. Do you have a few organizations whose causes you admire and follow on social media? DM them and ask if they’d be willing to have you shadow the founder of the organization for a day. You’ll get behind-the-scenes insight into what it takes to keep a charity running after the initial excitement of getting one off the ground.

Volunteer for Other Organizations

Not only does volunteering shine on a college admission application, but it can give you a feel for all of the manpower it takes to run a successful charity. We recommend volunteering for other organizations that have similar missions to your passion. It’ll help you determine if you’ve truly passionate about that cause, and you’ll get valuable experience as you meet other volunteers who might be interested in eventually volunteering with your charity.

Start Your Funding Search

Finding funding for your future charity doesn’t have to be hard. Plenty of grants are available, and some larger nonprofits even provide small organizations with funds. You might also brainstorm some fundraising events you can host. Remember those other other charity founders you shadowed? They likely have some advice on how to apply for grants or how to hold a successful fundraiser.

Starting a charity as a teenager is a big undertaking, but the impact you can have on others around you is well worth the hours of hard work it’ll take to get your nonprofit up and running. Take the first step and determine your passion and why you want to start a charity. Shadow other charity founders for a day or two. Volunteer for other organizations, and then start your search for funds. Need some inspiration? At StorageMart, we’re passionate about partnering with organizations of all sizes. Read more about these charities making big impacts across the globe.