How to Start a Nonprofit

Recommended Websites 

This page provides links to available resources for those interested in starting a new nonprofit. The recommended websites below provide overall guidance, step-by-step advice, and links to state-specific resources to help you get started.

Council of Nonprofits—How to start a nonprofit
This webpage from the Council of Nonprofits provides a step-by-step overview to guide the start-up process, from research and key questions you should ask yourself to state and federal filing information.

Foundation Center—Nonprofit startup resources by state
The Foundation Center provides this map linked to state-specific resources, including start-up guides, links to state agencies and offices, nonprofit associations, legal resources, and management and technical assistance providers.

In Texas, we recommend those interested in starting a new nonprofit visit Texas CBar, Community Building with Attorney Resources. The website provides resources “so that anyone running or starting a nonprofit can educate and help themselves on a variety of topics affecting nonprofits including the start-up and formation phase.” The site provides guides and manuals, sample forms and documents, as well as helpful links and recommended outside resources.

Click here for additional Austin/Texas-specific nonprofit resources.

Grant Space-How to Start a Nonprofit
A service of the Foundation Center, this webpage outlines a series of steps for those considering starting a nonprofit and an extensive list of resources.

Guidestar or
These and many other national and state organizations provide state lists or searchable databases to gather information about existing nonprofits. This step in your research process is critical for finding out about established nonprofits in your community and determining what needs and service gaps your nonprofit will address.

We recommend that you also search for state-specific resources to identify all the existing organizations in your specific location and service area. In Texas, Texas Connector, a service of the OneStar Foundation, is a nonprofit mapping tool that provides nonprofit, demographic, and socioeconomic data derived from a variety of sources, and can search by zipcode.

Click here for additional Austin/Texas-specific nonprofit resources.—Nuts and bolts of starting a nonprofit organization in the US
As part of the comprehensive Resources for NPOs section of the website, this article provides guidance on the start-up process, including tips and cautions and links to start-up basics—the must-haves for a start-up organization.

Society for Nonprofits—Frequently asked questions: Starting a nonprofit organization
This nonprofit membership association provides a list of frequently asked questions related to nonprofit start-up, with links to additional resources, including some sample start-up documents.

US Small Business Association—Nonprofit organizations
This article on business types from the Small Business Association provides information about programs and services to help nonprofits find the opportunities available to them from the federal government.

See also the Volunteer Engagement section of this site for detailed information about this critical aspect of nonprofit start-up and management.

Disclaimer: The RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service does not necessarily endorse any of the organizations referred to on this site, nor does it guarantee that any links provided are current and functional.