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01 May 2007

AskMecha Anyone here been in on the founding of an NPO?[More:] We're starting up an NPO to raise awareness of (and raise money for research into treatment of) a fairly obscure degenerative eye disease. I've got the legal covered (got a license to practice and a colleague I can talk to about it, but if you have experience incorporating an NPO, I'd love to hear about it), but I'm just wondering if anyone has any anecdotal advice about being in at the beginning of an NPO. Ever served on the first Board of an NPO? Ever drafted a mission statement? Landed a juicy donor? I'm in information-overkill mode and looking for more.
I haven't but wanted to pass this and this along, if you haven't already run across them.
posted by auntbunny 01 May | 11:11
Dissadvantage: quarterly instead of yearly filing.

If you are buying much stuff, the not paying sales tax.
Check craigslist "free," sometimes NPOs can only give stuff
away to other NPOs, (can't destroy or dispose of.)

Works best if you have some kind of event or other
deadline-oriented thing that must happen now. Make
some kind of emergency.

posted by StickyCarpet 01 May | 14:15
Yeah, I have, a couple of them. I'm not sure what you're asking for, though. Are you serving on the board or as an officer?

The stressful advice is that everything you do in the first year really matters. Share leadership and get a lot of cheerleaders. Talk about it nonstop and bring your flyers wherever you go. Capitalize on the startup energy, because it doesn't last. Put effort into structure and organization early on, because good people will drop away quickly if they start to smell disorganization or waste.

What else are you wanting to know?
posted by Miko 01 May | 22:54
I'm the provisional legal counsel, as well as permanent moral support of the person starting it up. I know how to do the incorporation filings (and have professional resources to draw on if I come up against something I'm not sure of), so I'm really just looking for what to do as the personal support network.

My sister manages donor relationships for a major philanthropy, so she has lots of information about working with a well-established NPO, but I don't know anyone who has started one, so I don't really know what we're in for.

I guess it's practical advice explaining things like "put effort into structure and organization early on". Are there some goals which are just silly for the first year? We will be too unsympathetic if we recoup business expenses (domain hosting, for instance) in the early years from donations? Those sorts of things.
posted by crush-onastick 02 May | 08:47
Today's decorating update || Party food ideas!