Do you have questions about starting, governing, managing or operating a nonprofit organization?
Ask the Nonprofit Specialists is a growing repository of information compiled by the ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation, based on common questions the Center receives about starting and running a nonprofit organization. Start with our top questions and then dive into the many topics below.
Should I form a nonprofit?
You see a need in your community, and you're ready to take action. Is forming a nonprofit organization the right choice for you? Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of starting a nonprofit to advance your mission.
How do I start a nonprofit?
If you've decided to start a nonprofit organization, these five key steps will help you launch your nonprofit. You will begin with a thoroughly researched business plan with market analysis to find your footing and make an impact.
What are tax-exempt organizations?
A tax-exempt organization is one which has been recognized by the Internal Revenue Service to not be liable for federal income tax. But tax-exempt status is not synonymous with nonprofit.
Do Arizona nonprofits pay and/or collect sales tax?
Here are some examples of common situations and whether or not organizations are exempt from taxes on purchases and sales.
Advocacy and lobbying
Can nonprofits participate in advocacy and lobbying? What about political activity? And how are all of these terms defined?
Communications and marketing
What role does marketing and communication play in the nonprofit sector? How is marketing different than public relations?
Are there key ratios or "standards" for tracking finances for nonprofits? How public should the finances of a nonprofit be?
Governance and boardsmanship
What is the best size for a nonprofit board of directors? Should it have committees? How often should a nonprofit board meet?
Human resource issues
Do we need an HR director? Do we need personnel policies? How do we determine compensation and benefits for employees?
Legal and ethical issues
How do I find what our legal requirements are? What are the ethical issues relative to fundraising or resource development?
How do we start generating funds for our nonprofit organization? What are the sources of funding for nonprofit organizations?
How do I know what kind of insurances our nonprofit should carry? Do we really need to have insurance? Can boards of directors be sued?
Other common questions
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Illustrations by Jocelyn Ruiz.