A few weeks ago, Rachel Epps Spears, executive director of Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta, offered wise advice for anyone considering forming a new nonprofit. One of her recommendations was to be sure to do your homework before getting to any of the paperwork establishing the organization. It's important to have a fundraising plan in place, create a well-developed business model, know who else is involved in your service area, and understand the many legal requirements of building and managing a tax-exempt organization.
There are numerous books and publications that can you help you learn about this process. Listed below are some of the recommended resources in our library collection. To find additional items, you can search our Catalog of Nonprofit Literature for the subject "Nonprofit organizations--establishment and termination". Titles marked with an * below are available for checkout from our collection.
*How to Form a Nonprofit Corporation (9th ed.), by Anthony Mancuso (Berkeley, CA: Nolo Press, 2009).
Written by an expert in corporate law, this book is a practical step-by-step guide to forming a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Chapters cover the steps of determining the right type of organization, incorporating a nonprofit, developing bylaws, applying for tax-exempt status, reporting requirements and various tax issues. Appendices contain state-by-state filing instructions, an incorporation checklist, sample bylaws and articles of incorporation, and standard IRS forms.
*Starting & Building a Nonprofit: A Practical Guide (4th ed.), by Peri H. Pakroo (Berkeley, CA: Nolo Press, 2011).
Going beyond the legal steps of incorporation and applying for tax-exempt status, this book provides practical guidance on building a nonprofit organization from the ground up. Topics covered include creating a strategic plan, calculating your initial budget and start-up costs, recruiting a board of directors and staff, planning your fundraising, marketing the organization and its services, and other management issues.
Starting and Managing A Nonprofit Organization: A Legal Guide (5th ed.), by Bruce R. Hopkins (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2009).
This guide explains the fundamental concepts behind the laws and regulations governing the formation and operation of U.S. nonprofit organizations. While not a practical, step-by-step guide, the book offers more in-depth exploration of major legal and tax issues for those needing more detailed guidance on these topics. The author uses the fictional "Campaign to Clean Up America" case study to illustrate many of the points discussed in the text.
*The Everything Guide to Starting and Running a Nonprofit, by Jim Goettler (Avon, MA: Adams Media, 2010).
Written for the grassroots organizer or anyone new to the nonprofit sector, this book provides a basic introduction to the steps of creating and managing a nonprofit organization. Chapters discuss the differences between for-profit and nonprofit corporations, getting organized, the initial board of directores, drafting articles of incorporation and bylaws, reporting and recordkeeping systems, developing a budget, managing finances and raising funds, business planning, mission statements and public outreach, staffing and personnel issues, and applying for 501(c)(3) status.
*Nonprofit Kit for Dummies (3rd ed.), by Stan Hutton and Frances Phillips (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing, 2010.
This title provides comprehensive coverage of the steps in establishing and running the day-to-day activities of a nonprofit organization. The book is divided into sections covering startup issues, the management of nonprofit organizations, and successful fundraising. Each section goes into further detail exploring the many considerations and practical tips for good management.
Stephen Sherman, Reference Librarian, Foundation Center-Atlanta