Create a Business Plan
- Beyond the Mission Statement and Purpose that you have already drafted, you should create an entire business plan that will serve as a roadmap as you get your operations started. The Business Plan includes your mission and purpose, but also provides detail on all aspects of your business: the budget and financials, the target audience, your marketing plan and your management structure. All this information is necessary to serve as both an internal framework as well as a communication aimed at external parties such as investors. The Startup Garage specializes in writing business plans and we provide a wealth of information on the topic elsewhere on our site- feel free to explore!
Write and File Articles of Incorporation
- Once you have a board assembled and a name registered with the state, you must write your non-profit’s Articles of Incorporation, which are the documents that your state needs to recognize your organization as a corporation. In California, the web link for the PDF to fill out and submit is here. You can search for another state’s Secretary of State page here. You can search for additional information on your state’s incorporation laws on NOLO’s page here. Read the instructions carefully to ensure you are aware of any other documentation that is required, such as the Statement of Information for non-profits in California. The mandatory contents of the Articles of Incorporation are governed by the state’s Corporations Code but generally include the names and signatures of the directors, the stated mission and purpose, proof of ownership of the corporation’s name, a disclosure acknowledging that there will be no private gain, and a filing fee.
Draft Governance Policy
- Corporate governance is a hot topic following the financial crisis, and you must ensure that your non-profit is up-to-date on the important features of a comprehensive governance policy. The policy will include the bylaws that govern the non-profit, a conflict of interest policy, and a compensation policy. Look into how Sarbanes-Oxley affects your non-profit at the National Council of Nonprofits page here. The governance policy is most importantly applied to the Board as it relates to their fiduciary duty to the non-profit.
*The information contained in this post is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in this site without seeking legal or other professional advice. The contents of this post contain general information and may not reflect current legal developments or address your situation. We disclaim all liability for actions you take or fail to take based on any content on this site.