If you're wondering how to start a foundation, the process is similar to launching a nonprofit, or even any other kind of business. You will need to set up an operation system that includes a transferable mission statement, methods of accountability, multiple sources of revenue and noteworthy services or programs that garner support. Follow these steps as you start your charitable foundation:
1. Research state nonprofit regulations. Make sure you understand them completely. This may require meeting with a lawyer and an accountant. However, this will be time and money well spent.
2. Incorporate the foundation. You will need to check local laws to discover the proper procedure.
3. Establish a board of directors. Make sure you choose carefully, looking for people who will carry forth the objective of the foundation responsibly and enthusiastically.
4. Write out a mission statement and a vision statement. These statements should be easy to understand and accessible to the public. With a good mission statement, you can motivate members of the foundation and communicate with the public as you seek support.
5. Draft bylaws. This includes essential board policies.
6. Write up a business plan. Cover fundraising needs and efforts, staff requirements, expenses and expected revenue plans. Make sure you have planned adequately for the foundation funding you have.
7. File with the US government for an employer identification number. You can do this online and get your EIN emailed to you that same day.
8. Open a new bank account in the foundation's name. Establish a treasurer, and figure out exactly what the check signing and other financial transaction policies will entail.
9. File with the government for tax exemption. Check with your lawyer or accountant for details.
10. Establish a physical presence. Select an office or community building as is fitting for your foundation. Be mindful of how much the maintenance of your office space cuts into money that could go toward your foundation.
11. Construct a procedures and personnel manual. Hire staff, and train accordingly.
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