Want to Start a Nonprofit?
The Checklist for Starting a Nonprofit is a guide for those who want to start a
501(c)3 nonprofit. Download complete list.
CHECKLIST: THINGS TO DO WHEN STARTING A 501(c)(3) NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION
FORM AN INITIAL EXPLORATORY GROUP. Group may be informal or a structured steering committee. Consider who needs to be involved from the beginning as this process can shape the organization and affect commitment levels in the future.
RESEARCH AND DISCUSS PURPOSE AND FEASIBILITY. Hold initial planning meetings to build consensus on the purpose and form. Develop mission, vision, and establish underlying values, and assess the feasibility of the effort. Explore relationships with organizations that may be doing similar work, and be sure about whether a new organization is really the best way to proceed.
ASSIGN RESPONSIBILITIES. Delegate responsibilities for work including drafting Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, filing for incorporation, developing a program plan and budget, planning for fundraising, and building relationships with others in the community.
DEVELOP A PROGRAM PLAN. What services will be offered to what clients, when, where, and led by whom?
DEVELOP A FUNDRAISING PLAN. How will programs and daily operations be funded?
ESTABLISH A RECORD KEEPING SYSTEM. Use this system for retaining meeting minutes and other organization documents.
DRAFT BYLAWS & CONFLICT OF INTEREST POLICY. Model bylaws and policies are available from Momentum’s Help Desk. Samples from other similar organizations can also be helpful. A legal review of bylaws is advisable.
FORM INITIAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS. A minimum of five directors is recommended. Be clear from the beginning about the roles and responsibilities of board members. This group writes the original bylaws, does much of the initial fundraising and hires staff, usually the Executive Director/CEO.