Nonprofit Start Ups

One of the most common questions we get at CNE is “How do I start my own nonprofit?”
Starting a nonprofit organization can be an meaningful and effective way to give back to your community and help those in need. However, it is important to understand all of the steps involved in this process before moving forward. Here, we provide a few resources to assist those interested in beginning the process.

Note: While we offer resources to help guide your research and process, none of this information is intended to be legal advice. If you are looking for legal guidance on starting a nonprofit or the process of completing the Form 1023 we recommend contacting our partners at Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie.

Helpful Resources

  • Nonprofit Start Up Workshop

    CNE hosts a workshop in partnership with the El Pomar Nonprofit Resource Center to provide direction on nonprofit start ups. You’ll assess your readiness, learn about alternatives, explore steps to help the process, and address regulatory steps required. Visit our Calendar for the next workshop.

  • Meet with a Consultant

    Looking to connect with someone before CNE’s next Start Up workshop? Have specific questions you need addressed around nonprofit creation? CNE’s Executive Service Corps can connect you with a consultant to guide your questions and provide direction on your startup journey.

  • Regulatory Steps

    Once you have decided to move forward with starting a nonprofit organization, you’ll want to ensure you are complying with all federal, state, and local regulations governing the establishment and operations of a nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations with the Colorado Secretary of State and the IRS.

  • Alternatives

    There are many ways to do good work in our community. Forming a nonprofit is not always the best answer. Other alternatives include volunteering your skills with an organization whose mission you are passionate about or finding a fiscal sponsor to provide infrastructure and support for a start-up or new organization, as well as a home for a project’s donations.

Nonprofit Readiness Checklist

While there are many things to consider before starting a nonprofit, CNE hopes this quick checklist will help you address some of the key items to think about before starting down the path to nonprofit creation.

What community need will you be serving? Do you know exactly what you are trying to accomplish? What
does success look like?
Did you know there are 2,000 nonprofits in the Pikes Peak region? What makes this mission and these services unique? Who is your charitable “competition” and/or partners? Did you know the Pikes Peak Regional Nonprofit Directory lists over 600 organizations operating in our region?
Do you have a diverse group of individuals committed to supporting the mission? What skills and expertise do these board members bring? Do these board members have experience with a start-up nonprofit, fundraising, finances, board governance? Board members should not be related to you or have financial ties to you or each other.
Have you considered the time commitment involved? Do you currently or have you worked/volunteered with
a nonprofit organization in the past? Once a nonprofit organization is developed it is governed by the board of directors who has the responsibility of hiring, evaluating, and if needed, firing the executive director.
Do you know the cost to start the organization? Do you know how much it will cost to operate and provide services the first 1-3 years?
Do you have a solid fundraising strategy? Did you know 80% of all charitable giving in 2015 was from individuals? Do you have individuals who will donate to the organization? Do you know of foundations, corporate philanthropic programs, or other groups that will support the mission with cash or in-kind
As with starting a business, there are many costs to consider when starting a nonprofit. Here are just some of them:
Colorado Secretary of State Incorporation: $50 PLEASE NOTE: This filing alone does not grant you IRS tax exempt status.
501c3 Status with IRS: $400 or $850
Basic Insurance: $500-1500

Harbor Compliance has created a useful chart that outlines the costs of starting a nonprofit in each state.