Nonprofit Lifeycles: Resources for Start-ups

February 8, 2016

By Melissa Sines, Learning & Accreditation Director, Maryland Nonprofits

You just received your 501(c)(3) determination letter and you’re excited and ready to go!  Organizations at the start-up phase are working on some very foundational issues, such as:

  • Developing a mission statement
  • Developing a brand and message to help raise awareness for your cause
  • Defining success and setting initial goals
  • Putting together a plan for delivering programs
  • Recruiting additional board members and volunteers
  • Putting in place best practices for your board members from Day 1
  • Establishing founding documents and a conflict of interest policy
  • Reviewing legal requirements for nonprofits
  • Establishing a bank account and basic financial policies
  • Accessing free and low-cost technology solutions
  • Identifying initial and ongoing funding sources
  • Establishing an online presence

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! We know many organizations falter or fail in their first couple years because they are overwhelmed with the sheer amount of work to be done. But not you…  you are ready!

Before you jump in

(and heart!) first, take a deep breath and review our resources available for start-up nonprofits.

Step 1: Review our “How to Start” Resources to make sure you didn’t skip any essential steps in getting your legal and corporate house in order.

Step 2: Review our Nonprofit Lifecycles Start-Up Resources to help you with everything from developing and revising your mission statement, putting together a program plan, growing your board, and getting started on fundraising. (Members, be sure to log in first and find this information on our Member Portal).

Step 3: Take the Standards Basics Self-Assessment and consider applying for Standards Basics recognition. The Standards for Excellence Institute, a project of Maryland Nonprofits, has a great framework in place to help you check off all the legal and regulatory compliance boxes that you need to have in order to get off on the right foot.

Step 4: Still need help? Our staff experts are here to assist! Members can fill out a request for member assistance form in our member portal and one of our staff will be in touch to help however we can.

We know this is an exciting time, but there is no substitute for being deliberate and getting it right the first time around, and we’re here to help you do that!

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