Nonprofits are a very tangible way for cause-driven and socially motivated women to make a difference in the world, and while the workforce is still overwhelmingly female, the same can’t be said for the sector’s leadership roles.

Like a vast majority of companies of any kind, the nonprofit world’s lack of diversity is having an impact on its effectiveness, both within the organizations themselves, and in the blind spots that this lack of diversity creates in enabling an organization to fully represent the community and the voices that it aims to serve. There are many viable ways for women to make an impact in the nonprofit sector, including opening a local chapter of an existing one. Here’s how:

1. Research nonprofits that are already serving the cause you have an interest in. One of the primary reasons to start a local chapter of an existing nonprofit as opposed to your own is that it’s very likely a need has already been met — and helping to support it is just as important. Make a list of nonprofits whose missions speak to you.

2. Contact the nonprofit(s) on your list to see if they are open to new chapters. Not every organization has branched out into local chapters or affiliates, so you’ll need to email or call around to get a sense of your options.

3. Gather interest from your community. You won’t be going this alone, so organize a local get-together to gauge interest in involvement with a local nonprofit chapter.

4. Do the paperwork. If you’ve gotten the go-ahead from the nonprofit of your dreams, you’ll need to file for incorporation and tax-exempt status within your state. An organization like Harbor Compliance can help you with filing the paperwork properly.

5. Ongoing compliance. Just as if you were running your own nonprofit, you’ll need to be compliant with the IRS’s tax exemption requirements, as well as adhere to the governing nonprofit’s mission and brand. Chances are you already have shared values and passion for the mission, and moving in a shared direction will follow suit.

Have any other questions or tips? Tell us @BritandCo!

(photo via Getty Images)