12
Apr
11

How do I start a not-for-profit?

I am sometimes surprised by how often I’m asked how to start a nonprofit. I attribute these questions
to my friends not understanding the difference between an accountant who works for an existing
nonprofit and a lawyer who has started a new 501(c)3. But it seems only right that I be able to
point my friends in the right direction. Fortunately, I don’t have to be an expert in this area. I have the
internet!

If you are considering starting a new nonprofit, before you take any actions read this article.
It gives many compelling reasons why you should not start a new not-for-profit. Are there existing
organizations already addressing the same need or cause? If so they are likely better funded and more
programmatically experienced than any new entity you can create. How will you fund the new not-for-
profit? Will your fund-raising be consumed by administrative and start-up costs? These thoughts are
wise to consider before proceeding further.

If you do decide to proceed here is a good general site to get you started.

In addition here is a checklist to help you navigate the process and legal hoops.

Finally you will want to build a strong board of directors. Here is a website with advice and strategies for board development.

. . . And, you should probably talk with a lawyer.

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2 Responses to “How do I start a not-for-profit?”


  1. April 12, 2011 at 12:47 am

    Another great resource for anyone looking to start a not-for-profit organization is the following site – http://501c3book.org/

    This is a great step-by-step guide to complete the 501(c)(3) application.


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