Thursday, May 15, 2008

Nonprofit Quest, Day Three

Starting a nonprofit is a lot more complicated than I realized! That's okay, though, I'm up for it. Part of my hope in posting blog accounts of my experiences is that other people will benefit from what I learn as I go along.

Yesterday, I focused on researching what I need to do to make this happen. has a whole section devoted to starting a nonprofit, which can be found here. While I found the site very informative and helpful, I also found it confusing and cumbersome. I had something like 12 different tabs open, all from links to the various first steps. I was frantically taking notes and trying to organize what I was taking in, when I realized this might not be the best approach for me.

Instead, I decided to visit my friendly neighborhood Barnes and Noble bookstore. There is just something about having all the information in one tangible source. A source I can highlight and write in as needed.

Barnes and Noble had several books on starting a nonprofit to choose from. I carried about five over to a table to decide which ones to purchase. I wanted to just get them all, but that was neither practical nor financially feasible. I compared the Table of Contents in all the books and also looked at publication dates and edition numbers. I wanted something thorough and recent. I also looked at the qualifications of the authors. I wanted to be sure they were well qualified to write about the topic and not end up with Joe Schmoe's Nonprofit Startup Guide. Besides which, these books are not cheap. I wanted to get my money's worth.

It took me about an hour of careful consideration before I decided on my purchases. I'm a fan of the "For Dummies" series, so I got Nonprofit Kit for Dummies. The authors have extensive experience with nonprofits. The book includes a CD with worksheets, checklists, links, samples and more.

I also bought Starting and Building a Nonprofit, A Practical Guide That one was written by a woman with a law degree. It also comes with a CD that has "all the forms you need." This book was published by Nolo, "Your legal companion." For those of you unfamiliar with Nolo, they have lawyers writing books and creating software and downloads to help with legal issues. Their website is fantastic, check it out Nolo.

I also spent some time yesterday brainstorming possible names with Debra. We came up with quite a few, everything from the practical to the ridiculous. We're in the process of weeding them out now.

I've checked the ones we're considering with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and searched for them at my state's Secretary of State website under both corporations and limited liability companies. I didn't find any of them, so all we have to do now is pick one.

Stay tuned!

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