Starting a Nonprofit

A lot of people ask me about the feasability of establishing their SANE programs (or, in the alternative, their SARTs) as nonprofits, and I think it's a model that can work if you go about it in a methodical and well-informed way*. Starting a nonprofit is more than just getting the government to bless you with 501C3 status, of course, but understanding the rest of the to-do list may have you feeling like you're wandering off into the weeds.

There are a variety of useful resources for nonprofit startups; the list below is in no way exhaustive. That being said, I think it's a good beginning-- but follow the links on some of these pages for even more in depth information on starting your nonprofit:

  • The Center for Nonprofit Management has a basic to-do list to get you on the startup path
  • Beyond the basic checklist, has a huge list of Startup FAQs (you can also follow links to a host of other management resources)
  • If you're looking for more of a fleshed out education in starting a nonproft, the Foundation Center has a free webinar series on the topic (there are 5 parts in all).
  • The Free Management Library offers an online learning module that has great links and well-regarded content on starting and understanding nonprofits, also free of charge. I do wish they would improve their page layout, though.
  • Not sure what the laws are in your state pertaining to starting up a nonprofit? Hurwit & Associates, a firm that specializes in counseling the nonprofit sector, has an online legal resource library where you'll find this (and much more).
  • And finally, the article that made me consider this topic for today's post, over at Blue Avocado, What's the Point of a Nonprofit Board, Anyway? It's a brief piece looking at putting together your nonpofit board, and a great jumping off point for exploring the issue further.

*For SANE programs hoping to start-up or morph into community-based nonprofits, make sure you check your state laws. Illinois, for instance, has strict langauge that limits SANE programs to the hospital setting. They're probably not the only ones (please let us know in Comments if you have intel on other states with similar restrictions), so a little due diligence on that front is worth the effort.