How To Start A Nonprofit Organization – Step By Step

One of my personal quotes that I truly live by and share to individuals that are looking to start a nonprofit organization is:

 "Only what you do structurally in your organizations to serve others, will last and will provide you the vehicle and platform to reach millions"

As a visionary, you have already determined your vision and mission statement. You have purposed it in your heart, to start a nonprofit organization.  You would like to provide a solution to a problem or address a personal need that is near and dear to your heart.  Now, you are ready to begin the step by step process of setting up your nonprofit organization the right way!  

Here are the successful steps to begin:

1. Determine the name of the nonprofit organization and get it approved from the Secretary of State.

2.  Establish your Governing Board to include you as President and the other fiscal officers of the organization, such as Secretary and Treasurer.

3.  Develop your implementation business plan and operating budget for the nonprofit organization.

4.  Incorporate or form your certificate of formation in the state where you intend to do your business.

5.  Upon certification, apply for an EIN (Employer Identification Number) and open up a nonprofit bank account.

6.  Apply with an IRS application for exemption.

7.  Begin establishing your grant management plan with a professional grant writer.

Following these simple steps will provide your organization with a healthy start! Once you have completed these steps, subscribe at and search thousands of grants. Select from one of the 50 plus categories to the right of the screen to aid your search. If you're a nonprofit, it is important to know that most of your funding will likely come from grants. To further determine if you are grant-ready, check out's blog article "Are You Grant Ready?"

To further answer any questions you may have about your emergent nonprofit, see and click on "Can We Apply for a NonProfit Grant Without Official NonProfit Status?"

About the Author: Dr. Linda Gray lives in Dallas, Texas. She is a nonprofit business consultant with more than 25 years of experience, with expertise in nonprofit start ups, nonprofit management, and grant research and development.