What to Consider when Starting a Non-Profit

General List of Non-Profit Considerations

Alauna Thornton

6/30/20212 min read

person writing bucket list on book
person writing bucket list on book

  1. Mission and Vision: Clearly define the mission and vision of the non-profit organization, outlining its purpose, goals, and intended impact.

  2. Research and Planning: Conduct thorough research to assess the need for your non-profit's services or initiatives, and develop a detailed business plan outlining strategies, target audience, funding sources, and operational structure.

  3. Choose a Legal Structure: Select a suitable legal structure for your non-profit organization, such as a charitable trust, non-profit corporation, or association. Consult legal professionals or advisors to understand each structure's legal requirements and obligations.

  4. Name and Branding: Choose a unique and meaningful name for your non-profit organization and ensure another entity does not already use it. Develop a branding strategy, including a logo and visual identity that aligns with your organization's values and mission.

  5. Board of Directors: Assemble a committed and diverse board of directors who share your vision and bring relevant skills and expertise to guide the organization. Determine the required number of directors as per legal requirements.

  6. Articles of Incorporation/Trust Deed: Prepare and file the incorporation or trust deed articles, depending on the chosen legal structure. These documents outline the organization's purpose, governance structure, and other essential details.

  7. Bylaws/Constitution: Develop bylaws or a constitution that establishes the rules and procedures governing the operation and management of the non-profit organization. Include provisions related to board meetings, decision-making, membership (if applicable), and other vital aspects.

  8. Register with Government Authorities: Register your non-profit organization with the appropriate government authorities, such as the local registrar of societies, charities commission, or relevant regulatory body. Follow the required procedures and provide the necessary documentation.

  9. Tax Exemption and Charitable Status: Apply for tax-exempt or charitable status with the relevant tax authority or regulatory body to avail of tax benefits and accept tax-deductible donations, if applicable, in your jurisdiction.

  10. Funding and Financial Management: Develop a sustainable funding plan, including fundraising strategies, grant applications, and potential partnerships. Establish sound financial management practices, including bookkeeping, budgeting, and reporting procedures.

  11. Policies and Procedures: Develop and implement policies and procedures that comply with legal requirements and best practices, including governance, financial management, conflict of interest, and data protection.

  12. Licenses and Permits: Obtain any necessary licenses or permits required to operate legally, such as permits for fundraising activities or permits specific to your work area (e.g., healthcare, education).

  13. Insurance: Consider obtaining appropriate insurance coverage for your non-profit organization, such as general liability insurance, directors and officers liability insurance, and property insurance.

  14. Staff and Volunteers: Establish guidelines for hiring employees, if needed, and develop a volunteer management system, including volunteer screening, training, and recognition.

  15. Reporting and Compliance: Understand and fulfill reporting and compliance obligations imposed by government authorities, such as submitting annual reports, and financial statements, and meeting any reporting requirements specific to your non-profit's legal structure.

It is crucial to consult with legal professionals or advisors familiar with non-profit regulations and requirements in your jurisdiction to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations when establishing a non-profit organization.

Starting a non-profit organization involves several requirements and considerations. While the specific requirements may vary depending on the jurisdiction and legal framework in your country or state, here is a general list of requirements to start a non-profit organization: