What is the best way to begin a new non-profit business? Probably the best way to initiate new business activities that
qualify for a public benefit non-profit is to find an existing non- profit and include the new activities into that non-profit.
This will allow these new programs to become known, grow and initiate and improve management systems, at a low cost. If necessary,
a new non-profit entity can be created to continue the programs.
What does it cost to form a new public benefit non-profit? As of 2012, costs can vary from about $500 to a few thousand,
perhaps as much as $4,000 or so, depending on whether an attorney or other consultants are used. If the application is completed
and submitted with hired consultants the cost is about $500 for a corporation expecting to earn less than $10,000 in gross
revenues, and about $950 for a corporation expected to earn a greater amount. Those interested going it alone should purchase the
book "How to Form a Nonprofit Corporation in California" by Anthony Mancuso, published by Nolo Press.
Minimally, what are the approximate annual costs to meet required statutory reporting? For very small non-profits to file
and cover state and federal registration fees, the costs are a few hundred dollars. Often an accountant is used to file these
annual reports, and that can boosts costs by about $500 to $750. Also, it is likely that an accounting system will need to be
purchased. If a bookkeeper is hired to keep accounts, costs can further increase by about $1,500 or more per year. Costs can
easily increase beyond these minimal amounts depending upon the size and complexity of the corporation.
Are there any complexities in choosing a name for a new non-profit? There can be. One of the first things to do in forming a
non-profit is to choose a name. It must be unique and approved by the department of state. Put thought into selecting a
corporation name. In representing the goodwill of the corporation, it will become one of the non-profit’s most valuable assets.
Is it possible to dissolve a non-profit corporation? Yes. A dissolution can be voluntary or involuntary. If involuntary, the
courts preside over the process and disposition of the assets. A voluntary dissolution is accomplished by filing the proper forms
with the appropriate state and federal agencies, and transferring ownership of assets to another non-profit.
What role do grants play in the formation of non-profit corporations? Grants can play a significant role in the life of a
non-profit. There are times when local governments are mandated to provide certain services by the state or federal government.
Grant funding often (but not always) accompanies these mandates and the local government negotiates contracts with non-profits to
provide the services. Seldom are new non-profits formed, but a new arm of an existing non-profit can be developed to recruit the
new personnel and other resources to provide the new services. Existing non-profits can also compete directly for government
grants and grants from foundations. It is important to remember, however, that grant funding for a given program can be fickle. It
can decline or vanish with a declining economy or changing politics.