As the small business librarian, I occasionally meet with people who are passionate about a cause and want to start a nonprofit. Clients have the emotional drive and commitment to the cause, but they are not sure how to make their nonprofit dream a reality. With the help of CCPL’s resources, we can make the process less daunting.

Cecil County Public Library’s online courses are a great starting point. I recently took “Starting a Nonprofit,” one of our six-week Gale Courses. I learned useful strategies and industry specific advice including: how to incorporate, form a board of directors, obtain tax-exempt status, craft a mission statement, develop a budget and marketing plan. You might explore other Gale Courses such as: Marketing Your Nonprofit, A to Z Grant Writing, Nonprofit Fundraising Essentials, and Get Grants! To access these free online courses, visit

Our newest online learning service,, also has free courses available with 24/7 access and taught by industry experts. “Nonprofit Fundamentals” discusses fundraising, talent recruitment and retention, governance, finance, and accounting. “Social Media for Nonprofits” will give you an understanding of the best paid and free marketing strategies used by nonprofits. To access these courses visit

Do not forget the importance of evaluating the need for the nonprofit in your community. CCPL’s database Demographics Now gives fast and easy access to detailed demographic information for Maryland state, counties, and towns with customizable searches. This database can be accessed at
If you need to start with the basics, check out the book “Starting and Building a Nonprofit: A Practical Guide” by Peri Pakroo. To get inspired, pick up “Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits” by Leslie Crutchfield.

CCPL’s Small Business Information Center is here to help! Make an appointment to discuss your nonprofit ideas and next steps to success. Call 410-996-5600 ext. 128 to make an appointment or email