Starting a Nonprofit Organization Checklist

It is important to have a starting a nonprofit organization checklist to help ensure that all the necessary steps are taken in order to start the organization. This can help avoid any potential problems or complications that may arise.

Details for Starting a Nonprofit Organization Checklist

1. Choose the right type of nonprofit organization:

There are a few different types of nonprofit organizations, so it is important to choose the one that is best suited for your specific needs and purposes. Some of the most common types of nonprofits are charitable organizations, religious organizations, and social welfare organizations.

2. Draft Articles of Incorporation:

The Articles of Incorporation are the formal document that establishes your nonprofit organization. They contain important information such as the name and purpose of the nonprofit, as well as the governing structure and bylaws.

3. File the Articles with the state:

After you have drafted your Articles of Incorporation, you will need to file them with the appropriate state agency. Each state has different requirements, so be sure to check your state's website or contact them directly for more information.

4. Create bylaws for the nonprofit organization:

The bylaws are a set of rules that dictate how the nonprofit will operate. They include information such as how directors are elected and what activities the nonprofit is allowed to participate in.

5. Appoint directors and officers for the nonprofit:

The directors and officers are responsible for running the day-to-day operations of the nonprofit. It is important to appoint individuals who have a good understanding of how nonprofit works and who share your vision for the organization.

6. Register with IRS to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN):

In order to open a bank account for your nonprofit or hire employees, you will need to register with the IRS and obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This process can be completed online at irs.gov.

7. Open a bank account for your nonprofit organization:

Once you have registered with the IRS, you will need to open a bank account specifically for your nonprofit organization. This account should be used solely for business purposes and funds should not be mingled with personal funds.

8. Develop policies and procedures:

As with any business, it is important to have written policies and procedures in place governing how the organization will operate. This includes things such as how donations will be accepted and spent, what kind of records must be kept, and how disputes will be resolved.

9. Create an initial budget:

In order to ensure that your nonprofit is sustainable, it is important to create an initial budget outlining expected income and expenses. This budget can be amended as needed as you get a better understanding of your organization's actual financial needs.

10. Hold an organizational meeting:

Once you have completed all of the above steps, you will need to hold an organizational meeting with the directors and officers of your nonprofit. This is where you will officially establish the organization and elect its first board of directors.

FAQ for Starting a Nonprofit Organization Checklist

1. How do I choose the right type of nonprofit organization?

There are a few different types of nonprofit organizations, so it is important to choose the one that is best suited for your specific needs and purposes. Some of the most common types of nonprofits are charitable organizations, religious organizations, and social welfare organizations.

2. What are the Articles of Incorporation?

The Articles of Incorporation are the formal document that establishes your nonprofit organization. They contain important information such as the name and purpose of the nonprofit, as well as the governing structure and bylaws.

3. What are bylaws?

The bylaws are a set of rules that dictate how the nonprofit will operate. They include information such as how directors are elected and what activities the nonprofit is allowed to participate in.

4. Who can be a director or officer for my nonprofit?

The directors and officers are responsible for running the day-to-day operations of the nonprofit. It is important to appoint individuals who have a good understanding of how nonprofit works and who share your vision for the organization.

5. How do I register with the IRS and obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)?

In order to open a bank account for your nonprofit or hire employees, you will need to register with the IRS and obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This process can be completed online at irs.gov.

6. How do I open a bank account for my nonprofit organization?

Once you have registered with the IRS, you will need to open a bank account specifically for your nonprofit organization. This account should be used solely for business purposes and funds should not be mingled with personal funds.

7. What policies and procedures should my nonprofit have in place?

As with any business, it is important to have written policies and procedures in place governing how the organization will operate. This includes things such as how donations will be accepted and spent, what kind of records must be kept, and how disputes will be resolved.

In Summary

A checklist for starting a nonprofit organization can be extremely useful in ensuring that all the necessary steps are taken in order to establish a successful organization. Some of the issues to avoid include not filing the correct paperwork, not registering with the IRS, and not having a clear vision for the organization. By following the steps outlined in this checklist, you can avoid these and other common mistakes made by new nonprofits.