How to Start a Nonprofit Treatment Center

by Kesha Ward; Updated September 26, 2017
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There is a consistent need for treatment facilities to help people address a variety of issues. If you are interested in opening a treatment facility, seeking nonprofit designation will allow you to apply for public funding and solicit donations. If you are considering opening a facility that is dedicated to working with and treating individuals with substance-abuse issues, as is the focus of many nonprofit centers, you will need to combine your business savvy with knowledge of substance-abuse detoxification and treatment. With proper preparation, extensive research and support staff, you can accomplish the goal of opening a nonprofit treatment center.

Items you will need

  • Board of directors
  • Mission statement
  • Bylaws
  • Charitable legal status
  • Incorporation
  • Facility
  • Permits and licenses
  • Equipment
  • Volunteers
  • Business plan
  • Marketing materials

Obtaining Nonprofit Status

Step 1

File for a charitable designation with the government. The Internal Revenue Service permits nonprofit agencies to be established under the 501(c)(3) tax code. If you cannot navigate the process on your own, contact an attorney to assist you. If you have questions about the process, you can also contact the IRS.

Step 2

Create a mission statement. The mission statement should describe the goals and objectives of your treatment facility.

Step 3

Visit your state government website and print the application forms that are required for you to establish your agency as a charitable organization. You should also be working on your agency bylaws that will help you establish the center’s regulations and rules.

Step 4

Obtain your federal tax identification number. Once you receive your federal tax ID, you can establish a bank account, apply for credit and sign contracts under the organization's name.

Step 5

Select members of the board of directors. The board's job is to handle all matters related to the center. They may also take the lead on all fundraising efforts. Fundraising is vital to nonprofits because money is always needed to pay expenses that are not covered by private or public underwriting.

Step 6

Hire an executive director. The executive director may have a dual role and also serve as the day-to-day director of the center.

Step 7

Initiate a volunteer program. Volunteers are a critical part of nonprofit organizations. They bring creativity and enthusiasm and complete tasks that a paid employee might otherwise do.

Opening the Treatment Center

Step 1

Collect as much information as possible on methods used in treatment facilities. You want to be sure the population you intend to serve can be treated in your facility. Having a good grasp on your center’s treatment philosophy will help you look for staff and volunteers to assist you.

Step 2

Write a business plan. The process of writing the business plan will help you further establish the goals of the agency. It will also come in handy when you are applying for funding. Consider taking a grant-writing course. The competition for public funds is fierce and the more prepared you are, the better.

Step 3

Visit your city’s health department. You will need to obtain the city’s requirements and guidelines for the operation of a treatment facility. There may be zoning or other issues that need to be addressed.

Step 4

Apply for funding. When you are establishing your agency, you may have to seek a variety of funding sources. You can seek in-kind donations, which is when someone gives you goods or services instead of money, for office furniture and equipment.

Step 5

Procure a location for the center. The center should be accessible but not be located in an area that has issues with noise or crime. It may not be a good idea to place those who need treatment in an area where there will be temptation when they walk out the center’s doors. You want a location where clients can feel comfortable and can focus on treatment.

Connecting with the Community

Step 1

Contact professional associations and organizations that offer certification and accreditation. You want the center to meet a variety of industry, personnel and patient requirements. Certification may be required in order to be eligible for some funding opportunities.

Step 2

Advertise your services. Notify local physicians, take out print ads and create a website. You want to be able to advertise the center’s services in as many places as possible.

Step 3

Reach out to the community by attending neighborhood and merchant meetings. Inform as many people as possible about the center’s services and invite them to visit.

About the Author

Kesha Ward has been a professional writer since 2010. With a Bachelor of Science in applied economics, she brings more than a decade of experience in public finance.

Photo Credits

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