Popular places to start nonprofits

A lot of different things come into play when it comes to starting or maintaining a successful nonprofit organization, such as the mission, donor support and endorsements.

But one aspect that many people may not take into consideration is location. 

Certain cities and regions are more prone to support nonprofit organizations than others. This could be due to a differing regional personalities, financial trends, or some other reason. There may even be nonprofits thriving more than ever imagined in the same regions that are deemed to be less supportive.

But if you're looking for a new home for your organization or are looking to start a new location, you may want to consider these cities and states:

Care 2 reports that Seattle, Washington, was the highest grossing city in regards to fundraising in 2011.

In 2012, it was the highest grossing location in regards to online donations with $38,297 in donations per 1,000 people, according to npEngage, a nonprofit news outlet.

Today, Seattle is still a thriving location for startup nonprofit organizations, such as MarketShare, which supports immigrants and refugees with an interest in the culinary arts, according to the International Examiner. 

Washington, D.C.
Just a few minutes away from the epicenter of U.S. politics, there are a number of nonprofit organizations that also plan to change the world, whether it be through:

  • Promoting the arts,
  • Supporting the environment,
  • Or educating the world on history.

According to npEngage, Washington, D.C., was the third-highest grossing city in 2012, with $23,995 raised per 1,000 people. 

With two major cities on its eastern and western borders, St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri has nonprofits that claim a stake in both, as well as all of the areas in between.

Some are even coming together to improve their efforts, such as Alternative Opportunities and Preferred Family Healthcare, which offer mental and behavioral health services, according to Behavioral Healthcare. 

Across the border from the "Show Me" state is Kansas, the third most charitable state in 2014. Every year, Walmart provides Kansas nonprofit organizations that benefit the state with grants that can range between $25,000 and $250,000, according to KOAM, a Kansas news station. 

Walmart also has a community grant program that consistently donates more than $1.3 billion annually to nonprofits and organizations across the U.S. and around the world.

Serving as the home to just over 12 percent of all U.S. citizens, California is also where you can find a lot of donors. This may have something to do with the fact that it reportedly has one of the top 10 largest economies in the world, according to the Columbia Journalism Review.

This large economy appears to also be helping the nonprofit industry, given that npEngage reported that both Berkeley and San Francisco saw over $17,000 in donations per 1,000 people in 2012. 

Boston is currently grabbing enough headlines for the entire state of Massachusetts to be considered a good location for nonprofit organizations.

Daily Table, the brainchild of a former Trader Joe's president, offers customers lower priced, surplus groceries, according to USA Today. But to show that Boston isn't the only city in the state with a bolstering nonprofit community, Cambridge raised $20,202 per 1,000 people in 2012 and ranked sixth in the entire country.

A total of nine Massachusetts nonprofit organizations were also recently honored at the statehouse. 

These are some of the many locations that have been credited with supporting positive environments for nonprofit organizations to succeed. Others to take a note of are:

  • Utah
  • Idaho
  • Minnesota
  • South Dakota

These states are ranked in the top 10 best locations based on:

  1. The number of charities per capita,
  2. The gross income donations,
  3. And the volunteer rate.

If you're thinking of starting a nonprofit organization in a new location, you should also take the difficulty of the registration process into account. Some states make registering as a 501c organization more difficult than others, and this may make you think twice about avoiding a location that wasn't listed as one of the best on the list and compromising with convenience.

It is also recommended that you have a conversation with a nonprofit legal counsel to help you navigate the ins and outs of the registration process, which can be complicated and overwhelming to those unfamiliar with it, especially when you consider that each state may handle these differently. 

Whether you're ready to head to another state now to pursue your nonprofit dreams, use this list to focus on prospective targets rather than blindly picking a spot on a map. 

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