How to Start a Not-for-Profit Organization

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Start your not-for-profit with smart planning
Start your not-for-profit with smart planning (Image: stock.xchng)

There are many reasons to start a not-for-profit organization. Do you have a cause in which you believe? It may sound like an intimidating process, but you can handle it yourself if you know the right steps. Read on to learn how to start your own non-profit business.

Establish a mission statement. Why do you want to start this organization? Who will benefit from it? How will you run it? These are basic questions you need to answer before moving forward.

Select members for your Board of Directors. This should ideally be a diverse group of at least six people who believe in your cause. Aim to include members in finance and law.

File your paperwork. You can probably handle doing this yourself, although it's a good idea to have a lawyer to look over it and give you advice. Check with your state government as requirements vary.

Next, it's time to deal with the IRS. The most common type of non-profit organization is a 501(c)3, which is for charitable purposes and is tax exempt.

Develop a set of bylaws, which govern how your not-for-profit organization will be run. These bylaws will provide instructions as to how to select board members and their responsibilities, hiring and firing policies, etc. Again, it's a good idea to have a lawyer look over this.

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