CREATE YOUR OWN NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION
This project requires you to draft preliminary documents that would form the foundation of a
new nonprofit organization. Your nonprofit organization can be within any of the sub-sectors of
the nonprofit sector (e.g. health and human services, arts, education, environment). N.B.: You
probably want to avoid religious or higher education organizations (universities) due to the
complicated nature of these organizations. Your organizations can be a 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4)-
make sure to explain your choice. The specified documents to be included in your start-up
package are listed below with accompanying explanations. FYI-while I expect you to take this
assignment seriously, it should also be fun—use your imagination
1. Mission Statement/Vision and Justification for the Organization-every organization should
know what its mission is before it gets started and why the organization is needed. Especially in
a time of scarce resources, nonprofit organizations need to be able to demonstrate why they are
necessary and how they are distinct from other organizations in their community. This should be
your first step; no more than one page (single spaced). Make sure to emphasize why this new
nonprofit is truly needed and how it will fill a gap in the community. The mission should only be
between a couple of sentences to a paragraph; the rest should be your vision and justification.
Make sure to nest your organization in a real community—it can be in Colorado or another
area. This will ensure that your justification makes practical sense and is realistic.
2. Articles of Incorporation-follow one of the provided examples and fill in the appropriate
details for your organization. You can specify the number of board members you deem
appropriate; create fictional board members or you can use real people.
3. By-Laws-follow one of the provided examples and fill in the appropriate details for your
organization. You can specify those committees for your board that you deem necessary for the
successful operation of your organization.
4. Draft Start Up Plan (No more than 5 pages singe spaced)
a. Board Members- ~1/2 page to 1 page single spaced. Discuss why you selected the board
members you did; what was the rationale for the board members you selected (or actually
b. Funding- ~1 page single spaced. Discuss what kind of funding you need for your initial
services and where you will get the funding (public and private dollars). Provide some
preliminary budget numbers.
c. Core Services-1-2 pages single spaced. Discuss what kind of services your organization will
be offering when it opens its doors. Feel free to discuss other services that may be added within a
five year period. Again, make sure to emphasize why this new nonprofit is truly needed and how
it will fill a gap in the community.
d. Staffing Needs- ~1-1 1/2 page single spaced. Discuss what staff positions are necessary at the
start of your organization. This can include both paid and volunteer staff.
5. Draft Organizational Chart-Design an organizational chart for your organization.
Make sure to include both paid and volunteer staff, offices, and position titles.
The following are some web sites that will help you with this project:
Starting a Nonprofit Organization
Nonprofit Check List
Checklist for Boards
Sample Articles of Incorporation
The Foundation Group
Grading Rubric for Assignment:
Category Excellent Good Fair
(A) (B) (C/D)
Coverage of Material (Mission Statement):
Clear and concise mission statement that conveys the overall purpose
of the organization and clearly demonstrates its charitable purpose and
the need for this nonprofit organization in the particular community.
Coverage of Material (Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws):
Clear and concise documents for the incorporation and operation of
your nonprofit organization. Documents follow recommended legal
Coverage of Material (Start Up Plan):
Covers the required material; start up plan clearly demonstrates the
need for this new nonprofit organization and provides a realistic plan
Organization and Clarity of Writing:
Writing is crisp, clear, and succinct. The writer incorporates the active
voice when appropriate. The use of pronouns, modifiers, parallel
construction, and non-sexist language are appropriate. There are few
grammatical problems demonstrated in the writing.