A Checklist for Starting a Nonprofit


checklist for starting a nonprofit

A Checklist for Starting a Nonprofit

Thursday, November 7th, 2019

Nonprofits provide incredible benefits to the communities they serve. If you’re considering starting a nonprofit, know that the process does require some planning and thoroughness. However, if you are driven by a mission to make a difference, then your efforts will be well worth the time. Creating a checklist for starting a nonprofit will help you get your project off the ground. 

By having a game plan and an actionable list of what needs to be done, you’ll set your organization up for success. There are several things you’ll want to keep in mind to get started. Let’s go over what you should consider when creating a checklist for starting a nonprofit. 

Create a Plan

If you’re taking your nonprofit seriously (which, of course you are), then you need to thoroughly consider all your plans for running the operation. Think about the nonprofit the same way you would if you were starting a business. You might need any of the following:

  • Funding
  • Employees
  • Services
  • Software
  • A website

These are just a few things you could require to get your startup up and running. Once you have a clear picture of the daily demands of running an organization, you can continue on the checklist for starting a nonprofit. 

Decide Which Type of Nonprofit You Want to Start

There are six types of nonprofits. Deciding which one is best for your situation depends on your goals. This is a crucial part of the process, as each type of nonprofit as a unique set of tax benefits and requirements. The most common approach nonprofits take is to seek a charitable organization status under 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code.

Types of nonprofit organizations include:

  • Charitable or religious organizations
  • Social welfare organizations
  • Labor and agricultural organizations
  • Business leagues
  • Veterans organizations

Take the time to familiarize yourself with the pros and cons of each type of nonprofit. Your choice could impact what is asked of you when complying with federal and state requirements. 

Follow the Six Steps Offered by the U.S.

The U.S. government offers its own checklist for starting a nonprofit. Though it doesn’t include the detailed planning required to launch your organization, it does provide a valuable framework to get you started. The list includes these six steps…

  • Choose a business name – Pay attention to state-by-state information on naming your naming profit.
  • Appoint a Board of Directors
  • Decide on a legal structure – Your choices include a trust, corporation or association.   
  • File your incorporation paperwork
  • Apply for tax-exempt status 
  • Obtain necessary licenses and permits

Each of these steps requires some research, in addition to a good deal of paperwork. Devote adequate time to each part of the process to make sure your nonprofit is in compliance with governmental requirements. 

Apply for Federal Government Grants

Donations from individuals are a cornerstone of most nonprofit organizations. However, you should also consider the role that grants, loans and programs to fund your organization. Resources are often available on the local, state and federal level. To seek funding from these sources, review the resources provided by the government.

Ask for Help to Knock Out Your Checklist for Starting a Nonprofit

Depending on your operation’s needs, you might develop a more detailed checklist for starting a nonprofit. As you can see, the process can be challenging if it’s your first time. To make life easier and better position your nonprofit for success, consider asking for help to make sure you get it right. There are many factors you’ll need to keep in mind and many documents you’ll need to file. Get these steps right, and you’ll be doing your nonprofit a huge favor. 

Need Assistance? Contact Clear View Business Solutions

Clear View Business Solutions believes in the power of nonprofits to make a difference. We work with nonprofits to make sure they have a plan to stay in compliance with the law and are ready to do the good work they want to accomplish. If you want to learn more about how we can help, we suggest you contact Clear View Business Solutions today to get started.