Starting a nonprofit? Here’s a helpful workbook

Are you planning to start your own nonprofit organization? The process is complex. Amy Hereford has published the Non-Profit, Tax-Exempt Corporation Workbook. This excellent little book makes the process clear and show you the best way to go about starting a nonprofit.

It’s an up-to-date listing of the many steps you must follow, including:

  • Organization goals, mission and budget
  • Recruit board members, locate resources and develop time-line
  • Establish corporation
  • Federal tax filings
  • Establish financial management
  • State obligations
  • Other steps and obligations
  • Annual checklist

A cautionary note about starting a nonprofit

You will need bylaws to run your nonprofit. One cautionary note: This workbook provides sample bylaws that include a provision Jurassic Parliament does not recommend. The sample says, “The Board may meet through electronic means in any manner approved by all Directors that is free and fair.”

In most states, nonprofit boards may meet either in person, or by telephone, provided that all members can hear and be heard. Meetings by email are not allowed. Read our blog post here, “You can’t vote by email,” to learn more.

The sole exception is “unanimous written consent.” In order to use “unanimous written consent,” every single member of the board must vote in favor in writing, and a written record of their signed consent must be entered into the minutes. In our experience, some boards play fast and loose with this. Please be sure that language in your bylaws about meetings does not give rise to the possibility of meeting in a manner not sanctioned by your state law.

Thank you, Amy Hereford, for producing a useful tool to help visionary people starting a nonprofit improve the world. You can purchase Ms. Hereford’s book at Amazon and read more about her work at

Additional help for starting a nonprofit in Washington State

Washington residents can find additional great information about starting a nonprofit by clicking on this link published by WAYFIND: Attorneys Supporting Communities.

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Ann Macfarlane

Ann G. Macfarlane is a Professional Registered Parliamentarian. She offers an interactive and user-friendly way to master the key points for effective, efficient and fair meetings. Her background as a diplomat and Russian translator enables her to connect with elected officials and nonprofit board directors and give them the tools they need for success. She is the author of Mastering Council Meetings: A guidebook for elected officials and local governments.