Author Topic: Getting my nonprofit off to a good start- Advice appreciated!  (Read 968 times)


  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1221
For the past year or so I have been informally collecting unwanted books from friends and family, selling them online and donating the profits to local and regional charities. 

For a variety of reasons people offered them to me instead of taking them to other charities- reasons given included having their books rejected by some local charities for whom books don't sell well, not having the time to drop them off (I pick them up) or feeling like the charities that accepted books were spending too much on fundraising and/or admin salaries.  But I've gotten to the point where some of the people donating don't know me personally so, understandably, would like some reassurance that I am donating the profits and some have started to ask for a donation receipt for their taxes. 

I'm looking ahead to FIRE and thinking that I would like to spend more time on this to see where it may go.  My gut tells me that this may be a viable idea for my area and do some good.  I've run successful small businesses but have no experience in the non-profit sector.  My goal is to bootstrap as much as reasonably possible so Q1 profits are not all put into formalization.

The two big things I have questions about are:

(1) 501(c)(3) status: Is filing the needed paperwork something I can do myself?  Or is a lawyer necessary?  Does anyone have any experience with this and the related costs?

(2) website: I would like a basic website explaining the non-profit and allow people to submit a book donation for pick-up.  Most nonprofit website hosting companies (Classy is the first I checked) seem to be focused around fundraising, which I'm not doing.  It would be nice if people could donate too but it's a secondary priority at best.  I'm embarrassed to say that I've made it this far in life without starting a website from scratch but there it is.  Any suggestions or direction would be useful.