If you wanted to start, say, a software company, you could do it with a little bit of money borrowed from your uncle, and then spend a lot of time working on your product; if things go well, you can hire a second employee, then a third, and slowly build your way up. Starting a nonprofit isn't all that different -- there are lots of nonprofits that start with a person or two, and then gradually grow (or not), but take in enough money to sustain themselves. In either case, there won't be reporters poking around your office saying, "So, how does everyone feel about the CEO? Any tension there?"-- with the results splashed on the pages of Politico.