Starting A Non-Profit
Starting a non-profit organization, albeit noble, can be an overwhelming and daunting task. When my father retired from teaching high school as a Drama and English teacher, he wanted to start a non-profit to give back to the community. As a playwright, his desire was to spread positive message drama to children and adults alike.
We began to research what is required to start a non-profit organization and this is what we discovered. We broke it down into 2 parts (read more).
PART 1 LEGAL REQUIREMENTS
PART 2 ORGANIZATION AND STRUCTURAL REQUIREMENTS
Time and Money
The process of starting a non-profit, with proper legal and financial assistance, takes about six months to a year with costs starting at $2,000 and upwards.
As my father and I researched the time and money that was involved, we were a bit overwhelmed. While exploring our options, I consulted with my cousin, who is an attorney, and he suggested that we use a Fiscal Sponsor.
Basically, a Fiscal Sponsor Program is a public charity dedicated to the development and support of Non donor-advised funds (some call them "field of interest" funds. Donor-advised funds are also available.) A fiscal sponsor might be useful to you if your nonprofit:
1) Does not have sufficient resources to handle startup costs and fees
2) Does not have sufficient skills initially to manage your finances
3) Will address a community need and then no longer need to exist.
Well, we fell into the category of number 1 and 2. We didn't have sufficient resources to handle startup costs at the time and we didn't have sufficient skills initially to manage the financial expertise needed to run a non-profit. We also didn't want to wait six months to a year or more to get our project started. We applied to the program and our plan was accepted within 3 weeks!. When we were approved as one of the Fiscal Sponsor's non-donor advised funds, we were able to start receiving tax-deductible donations right away! We operate under a 501(c)(3) that is shared with our fiscal sponsor. My father paid $285 and everything was taken care of for us. We really wanted to start our work with our non-profit organization as soon as possible; but, we had big dreams and little money. We were so thrilled to find out about this program. It made starting a non-profit so simple and accessible. Our fiscal sponsor does all of our bookkeeping for us, which frees us up to focus on the business of giving back as we establish our non-profit organization.
We definitely plan on establishing our own self sustainable non-profit organization and our fiscal sponsor program has a division and a staff of attorneys, accountants and financial advisers that will help guide us through the process step by step whenever we are ready.(However, some individuals and charities who are only interested in charitable giving and not building a substantial organization, are very satisfied with remaining with the fiscal sponsor program.) In the meantime, we are able to accept donations, operate,organize and structure our non-profit without having to wait through the lengthy process or come up with thousands of dollars before getting started. My father plans on making this transition when he believes that Dramacure has grown up, has strong financial legs and has become a solid organization. Until then, we've been able to take action, start our charitable work and focus on our goals to help reach out and give a voice to less fortunate communities.
HELPING OTHERS WITH STARTING A NON-PROFIT Simply and Inexpensively
Well, I've been so impressed, over the last few years, with our Fiscal Sponsor Program and how they give those who have an idea, dream or goal the opportunity to start a foundation, that I became a Philanthropic Officer for the organization. As a philanthropic officer, I assist those who wish to start a non-profit organization by setting up a fiscal sponsor program for their non-profit plan. I aid with the initial application process and I offer continued assistance with fund raising strategies to get the organization on it's feet. If you would like to receive more information about how a fiscal sponsorship works and an explanation of the application process, (which includes a $35 bonus donation to each program that is approved). Plus a gift certificate offer of $50 toward the registration fee until January 12,2008! Don't hesitate to contact me for more information.
Article excerpts from "How To Start A 501c3 Nonprofit Organization"
Update-"Fiscal Sponorship Getting Started Guide"
The interest in starting a non-profit with a fiscal sponsor
has been great! Because so many of you are
interested in learning about starting a non-profit with a fiscal sponsor for
less than $300.00, I have written a free "Fiscal Sponsorship Getting Started Guide" that
should answer all of your basic questions. Please sign up for your free guide below.