20 Questions to Address When Forming a New Nonprofit Organization

1. What is the mission for this new organization?

2. What other existing nonprofit organizations in your area are you aware of that pursue similar objectives? How will this organization be different?

3. What is the desired name of the new organization? What will be its principal address?

4. What is the initial budget and where is the initial and ongoing funding expected to come from?

5. Who will be the initial officers and directors of the new organization (names and contact information)?

6. Will the organization be operated by paid employees, volunteers, or both?

7. Will the organization have one or more classes of members? If so, what rights will the members possess?

8. Does the organization intend to engage in any lobbying or political campaign activities?

9. What populations or groups of people will benefit from the organization’s activities?

10. What business or financial arrangements does the organization anticipate having with insiders (e.g., directors and officers) or independent third parties (e.g., contractual relationships, joint ventures, etc.)?

11. Will the organization provide services for or sell goods to its constituents? If so, please describe and how any charges for such services or products will be determined.

12. Describe the organization’s past, present, and future activities in a narrative format.

13. Are any officers or directors related through family or business relationships? If so, please describe.

14. Describe any program offered or to be offered that involves the provision of goods and services to individuals or other organizations.

15. Is this organization a successor to another organization? If so, please explain.

16. Does the organization intend to conduct bingo or other charitable gaming activities? If so, please explain.

17. Will the organization undertake fundraising? If so, how?

18. Do you intend to operate in a foreign country or make grants to foreign organizations? If so, please explain.

19. Do you intend to provide scholarships, fellowships, educational loans, or similar grants to individuals (including grants for travel, study, or other similar purposes)? If so, please explain.

20. What are your revenue and expense estimates for the upcoming four years for the following categories:

REVENUES: (i) gifts, grants, and contributions; (ii) investment income; (iii) gross receipts from goods sold, ticket sales, or services performed.

EXPENSES: (i) fundraising expenses; (ii) contributions, gifts, and grants paid to others; (iii) Compensation of officers and directors; (iv) other salaries and wages; (v) rent and utilities; (vi) depreciation and depletion; (vii) interest; (viii) professional fees; and (ix) program expenses and other miscellaneous expenses.