A week or so ago, a question was posed to us. It was where to direct people that wanted to start a NPO.
So, I asked some people/experts and here is what they said:
Rita Fuerst Adams, CFRE, President Charitable and Philanthropic Management Counsel had some great advise to start at the very beginning:
“First, instruct them to research what other organizations are doing work in the arena they are entering.
- Do we really need another organization?
- Can they work with an existing group?
- Does their program plans warrant a nonprofit or should they consider a fund at a community foundation?
A friend of mine is part of a “friends” of a local library group. They said they wanted to start a nonprofit. Because they are strictly raising gifts to help the library and would average $25,000 a year I suggested they start a fund at a community foundation to house the gifts.
Now if the volunteers are still convinced they need a new organization ….
The first stop they should make is to the website of the Lawyers Clearing House – section for nonprofits. They have
the most complete links for legal issues and checklists. When they link to the IRS website in addition to the documents for nonprofits they should search for the documents about charitable contributions. They need to make sure they are acknowledging various forms of gifts properly.
Just 2 more notes ….
I always suggest groups adopt – Board of Trustees vs. Board of Directors. For profit corporations must use Board casino online of Directors. Nonprofit corporations may use either. So, to reaffirm status – Board of Trustees. It also helps to remind the Board they are holding the organization in trust for the public good.
I have a form Nixon Peabody gave to me of a series of questions of information needed to complete the IRS 1023 that is the filing for 501(c)(3) status.
The next advise came from someone who is doing research for college: Lisa Marie Garver who is a Senior at Berklee College of Music. To finish Berklee she is working on a portfolio that details how a musician can start an arts/education nonpprofit (with little to no business skills).
And then here are some resources from Susan C Hammond, scHammond Advisors
- Main IRS Page: http://www.irs.gov/charities/index.html
- Applying for Tax-exempt Status: Look at info on Form 1023
- Mass Atty General’s Office Nonprofit Info: http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=cagosubtopic&L=3&L0=Home&L1=Non-Profits & Charities&L2=Charitable Organizations&sid=Cago
- Mass. Secretary of State Nonprofit Info: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/cor/corpweb/cornp/npfrm.htm
- Is a Nonprofit Organization Like a Business? (thinkup.waldenu.edu)
- Rules for Nonprofit Corporations (thinkup.waldenu.edu)