How to Start a Non-Profit Support Group

coward_lion/iStock/Getty Images

You want to start a non profit support group to help people in your community but you don't know how to go about it. Here, you will learn the basic steps to plan your non profit support group as well as learn the behind-the-scenes legal aspects as well.

Getting Started with your Non Profit Support Group

Determine the focus of your group. For example, will it be for cancer survivors, people with scoliosis, or children who lost a parent to death. Also, decide how big you want the group to be.

Develop a meeting schedule, plan the date and time of the first meeting, and pick a location. You could hold the first meeting in your home, if that is feasible. Also, place a prominent ad in your local paper and post flyers in business establishments that will allow it.

Elect a Board of Directors. For example, your group will need someone in charge, such as a president, and someone to take notes and send out future meeting notices, such as a secretary.

Write a mission statement that will set out why people would want to invest in your non profit support group and that reflects your group's purpose. You want a way to draw in sponsors, donors and volunteers who can help you with your mission.

Find someone in the group who will spearhead fundraising activities. Having a solid plan to make money will ensure that the group will continue successfully.

Plan an agenda for every meeting to keep focus on the topics at hand. Make sure someone is there to keep order so that everyone gets a turn to talk.

Getting Legal

Write and file articles of incorporation with the office of the Secretary of State. You can find forms and books online to help you with the process.

Submit an application to the IRS for non profit status, apply to your state's department of regulation and licensing, and to your city for a solicitation license.

Register the name of your non profit support group with the corporate office of the secretary of state and with the charities division of your state attorney general's office.

Get sales tax exemption status from your state.

Inquire at your local post office how to get a permit to send out bulk mail. Determine if your non profit support group will qualify for any discounts.

Purchase liability insurance for your support group and be sure to include your Board of Directors in order to protect them individually in the event of a lawsuit.


  • Be sure to incorporate. If you don't, board members and individuals connected with your group may be held personally liable in case of a lawsuit.


  • Use IRS form 1023 to apply for non profit status. Also, ask the IRS for publication 557.

  • Check with your city regulators whether or not they require you to have a license to solicit funds for your non profit support group.

About the Author

This article was written by a professional writer, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more, see our about us page: link below.

Photo Credits

  • coward_lion/iStock/Getty Images