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How To Start A Non-Profit

If you are looking to start a non-profit, there are several steps to starting a non-profit organization. In this article, I’m going to detail the beginning steps of starting a non-profit. The steps that I’m going to detail are essential and should be the first thing to do before completing any paperwork. The steps on how to start a non-profit in this article will include everything you need to know that will benefit you in the long run. The ultimate goal with remember you don’t own the non-profit that you are starting, you will be the founder of the non-profit that you are starting. Please comment in the comment the type of non-profit that you will start. Women In Power is all about Women In Power.


Starting A Non-Profit | Board of Directors


The first step to starting a non-profit is creating a board of directors. The board of directors is essential to setting the foundation of your non-profit. A lot of people struggle with getting a board of directors together because individuals don’t know anyone but family. When starting a non-profit and if you don’t know anyone, its ok to put your family on the board of directors. One tip that I will give as it relates to starting your non-profit and putting board members on your board, is to pick people who are passionate about what you do. I was once helping one of our members with starting her non-profit and her mission is to help moms who have premature babies, so I suggest that she put together board members of people she have helped. When you pick people who you have helped or people who are passionate about your non-profit, they will be more ample to help you when things come up. This is an important step to starting your non-profit. So first think of people you have already helped in your non-profit or someone who you may know that will be a great fit to be on the board and make a list of these people. Once you have your list of potential board members, you now want to invite them out to a lunch or coffee. Once you have them at lunch or coffee, you want to invite them to be on your board of directors. This is a great way to invite individuals on your board and to get them to say yes! The board of directors includes your President, Vice president, Secretary, Treasurer and Executive director. You can have two Vice presidents and several board members. You definitely want to have an odd number of people on your board of directors for voting purpose. Another step to starting your non-profit and picking your board members is knowing what position you will serve as on your board of directors. This is important as it pertains to salary. A lot of people will say to serve as the Executive director so you will automatically receive 10% of each grant that you receive. As far a salaries and board of directors, you can vote on this. So to me, your position on the board doesn’t matter. My professional advice is to serve as the President and the Executive Director for you non-profit. I have a course on this website that will show you step by step with starting your non-profit and obtaining your 501c3 letter. The link is below. 



Starting a Nonprofit | By-Laws


The second part to starting a non-profit is to create your by-laws for your non-profit organization. You are probably wondering what are by-laws. By-laws is a documents that governs how you non-profit should be ran. Some of the things that you will need to include in your by-laws are information about your meeting. When starting a non-profit, the IRS require you to do an annual board meeting, and this should be stated in your by-laws that you will do annual board meetings for your non-profit. Special meetings should be put in your by-laws and you should state when should a special meeting be called and who is allowed to called a special meeting with your non-profit. Normally any board member can request a special meeting, but this has to be stated in your by-laws. You may also want to state in your by-laws on how much notice you should give for a meeting to be held. Normally 10 days is good time frame to notify your board of directors and you should always do a written notice. The written notice can be in the form of an email. The second thing when starting your non-profit is including the place of the meeting. Most non-profits are new non-profits so what you can do is do virtual meetings. Because of COVID a lot of non-profits are doing virtual meetings. We prefer zoom for our board meetings because zoom is user-friendly. Some other things to include in your by-laws are how your non-profit board of directors can take action. One way your board of directors may be able to take action is by informal action. An informal action is either by not having a meeting and being able to vote on something. You can also take an informal action for your non-profit at a board meeting. Another section to include in your by-laws is how many directors you will have. Directors and board member are somewhat different, but you want to state in your by-laws how many directors you will have. You will also need to put in your by-laws about your regular meetings and how often you will conduct regular meetings. My non-profit conducts regular meetings quarterly.  Another section of the by-laws talks about committees and how they are formed. My non-profit formed different committees which includes the events committee, membership committee and fundraising committee. Your non-profit committees may differ because of the type of non-profit that you are starting. Your by-laws for your non-profit should also include how your non-profit will handle vacancies and removal of people from office. In your non-profit by-laws you want to include how many terms each board of director will serve. You can break it down per board member and it doesn’t have to apply to the entire board. For example, the president may serve as the president of the non-profit for 10 years and maybe the secretary and other board members may serve 1-2 years depending on the board members. We have a course that will break down step by step on how to get your 501c3 letter. Having the 501c3 is very important to getting funding for your non-profit.