For a Living Tribute, Start a Foundation
By Jaime Guillet, eHow
No matter the motivation for starting a nonprofit, creating a foundation is a highly intricate process. You’ll need to understand the organization’s fundraising sources and how that impacts its standing with the Internal Revenue Service, among other things.
eHow spoke with Jason Marsden, executive director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, about researching similar foundations, the IRS documentation process and targeting potential donations.
Carefully research who is out there doing the work right now. Are there existing organizations that deal with that issue or similar issues? Is there a niche that hasn’t been filled? Are there specific types of work or angles on that work that aren’t being done? And if there is, there is so much administrative and fundraising work that goes into the care and feeding of a nonprofit organization that if you don’t actually have to start one you shouldn’t.
It gets very complicated in the details: trying to make sure you abide by all the IRS regulations, obey all the laws, that you registered at the state and local level, [and] that you're up to date on all your paperwork to the state — the secretary of state.
Where to Turn
Find an attorney who has expertise in corporate startup work and [with] the IRS and the nonprofit code to help write a [Form] 1023 because that is a lengthy and complicated document that requires you to estimate what the first several years of your operation are going to look like. It requires you to state what your nonprofit mission is and you go through a long process with the IRS as they review it.
You'll need people who have expertise in fundraising and in grassroots organizing and in program delivery, [who] have expertise in public relations and working with the media, administrative expertise. You'll need a full set of people who can step in there into...