General Question

newanda411's avatar

How does one non-profitize?

Asked by newanda411 (72points) April 7th, 2008

I am looking to transition to non-profit status and wondering if it would be quicker to start one from scratch or purchase one that already exists.

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6 Answers

cwilbur's avatar

One consults an accountant and a lawyer, not Fluther, because this is all fiendishly complicated and detail-oriented, and getting it wrong means you suddenly lose non-profit status and have to pay years of back taxes.

newanda411's avatar

@ cwilbur yes, a lawyer and an accountant are in the que, however, is it easier to start one from scratch or purchase one that already exists and transition the focus of the old NP to fit your own vision?

cwilbur's avatar

How many people are involved? How many of them share your vision? How many of them are going to resist the change?

newanda411's avatar

@ cwilbur have not found a nonprofit to purchase yet. May simply be a NP that has fizzled, and we would purchase the name. Simply considering the options because I would like to achieve 501c3 status as soon as possible.

cwilbur's avatar

Well, “how hard is it to change the mission and vision of a nonprofit” depends on the people already involved in the nonprofit, so it varies from “trivial – they want to do that anyway” to “impossible – it’s not ‘the way we’ve always done it,’ so it won’t fly.”

The simplest and most straightforward thing, if you have enough working cash to purchase a nonprofit, is probably to start one yourself.

Abby's avatar

The quickest way to start a nonprofit is to get a currently existing nonprofit to take you/your project on as a fiscally sponsored project. You need to find an organization to be the “fiscal agent”, which means donors write checks to them and they write the checks as you like. They usually take a fee off the top.

The Tides Foundation in SF does this on a regular basis and has a basic form you can look at to get a sense of how it works.

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