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Good lawyer to help set up non-profit organization

By squib - 5 August 2013 10

Hello Rioters,

I am in the process of setting up a small non-profit organization and was wondering if anyone had any recommendations for a good (and not too expensive) lawyer that can help get us registered and so on. I just want to make sure I keep everything kosher.

Many thanks!

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10 Responses to
Good lawyer to help set up non-profit organization
squib 4:54 pm 08 Aug 13

Kurrajong said :

The concept is commendable. I doubt you need to form an NFP straight away.

My advice, for what it’s worth, is to:

1: google ‘Lean Canvas’ and use the template format to work through what it is you really need to do. Workshop it with some friends using some butchers paper (and free food).
2. Set up a website on one of the many free modules available (eg weebly) and start the project.
3. Run various trials (prototypes) to see what works.
4. When a workable concept is clear, develop a brief business plan (max 4 pages) and budget then start shopping it around.
5. Set up a separate bank account for donations and keep clear records.

When you have the concept trialled and properly worked out, and if it has legs and reaches a pre-determined critical mass, then consider forming a registered association.

Thanks heaps Kurrajong. You seem to know a lot about the NFP area, and I really appreciate any advice I can get. I just had a look at lean canvas, and it does look like it could be really useful for mapping things out. I shall also set up a separate bank account (received the first sponsorship money yesterday) and keep good records.

Kurrajong 10:12 am 08 Aug 13

The concept is commendable. I doubt you need to form an NFP straight away.

My advice, for what it’s worth, is to:

1: google ‘Lean Canvas’ and use the template format to work through what it is you really need to do. Workshop it with some friends using some butchers paper (and free food).
2. Set up a website on one of the many free modules available (eg weebly) and start the project.
3. Run various trials (prototypes) to see what works.
4. When a workable concept is clear, develop a brief business plan (max 4 pages) and budget then start shopping it around.
5. Set up a separate bank account for donations and keep clear records.

When you have the concept trialled and properly worked out, and if it has legs and reaches a pre-determined critical mass, then consider forming a registered association.

squib 7:27 pm 07 Aug 13

Kurrajong said :

What specifically do you have in mind?

I recommend that you go to the ACT Citizens Advice Bureau located on ground floor outside the entrance to the Griffin Centre (back of Cream in Bunda St) and buy the Canberra Community Sector Contact book. Less than $15. Would be money well spent. My bet is your idea is already covered by someone else.

Many groups are looking for volunteer staff and board members. Think of alternatives to pursue your cause. Setting up and running a NFP and/or charity is all consuming and you can easily be burnt, or burned out and, worse, create harm for those who may become dependent on you.

My idea is to have an organization which provides comprehensive and up-to-date information on all lost and found pets in Canberra. It will bring together information from the RSPCA lost and found website, and the Domestic Animal Services website, and display this in the one central website. In addition we would attend to reports of dead cats and dogs to check if they are microchipped or tagged in the hopes of finding the owners, and also assist with putting up flyers etc if the pet owner needs an extra pair of hands.

We already have a facebook site: https://www.facebook.com/CanberraLostPetDabase but to really provide a good service, a stand-alone website is needed. The website is already being created, but I was looking for donations and sponsorship money to help cover the cost of creating and running the website.

I really feel there is a need for such a service in Canberra, and have not been able to find anything similar that already exists. I do take your point about it being a lot of work though!

Kurrajong 9:02 am 07 Aug 13

What specifically do you have in mind?

I recommend that you go to the ACT Citizens Advice Bureau located on ground floor outside the entrance to the Griffin Centre (back of Cream in Bunda St) and buy the Canberra Community Sector Contact book. Less than $15. Would be money well spent. My bet is your idea is already covered by someone else.

Many groups are looking for volunteer staff and board members. Think of alternatives to pursue your cause. Setting up and running a NFP and/or charity is all consuming and you can easily be burnt, or burned out and, worse, create harm for those who may become dependent on you.

squib 8:30 pm 06 Aug 13

Kurrajong said :

From experience in this sector, I ask you this: Are you really sure you want to do this and cannot achieve your goal by some other means or by partnering with another organisation?

Recent govt figures, there are 600,000 NFP entities in Australia!

Do we really need another one?

Check out http://www.notforprofit.gov.au/

The recently formed the Aust Charities and Not For Profit Commission was set up to bring order and discipline to the shambolic mess of organisations we currently have.

By all means go ahead, but do it with eyes wide open and without any emotionally driven fervour.

I take your point, but I do feel like I have done my research and identified a real need in Canberra for the services provided by the organisation. Although I guess everyone who sets up a charity or non-profit believes that!

vg 11:03 am 06 Aug 13

PantsMan said :

Julia Gillard.

Brilliant, made my morning

PantsMan 10:08 am 06 Aug 13

Julia Gillard.

Kurrajong 8:48 am 06 Aug 13

From experience in this sector, I ask you this: Are you really sure you want to do this and cannot achieve your goal by some other means or by partnering with another organisation?

Recent govt figures, there are 600,000 NFP entities in Australia! Do we really need another one?

Check out http://www.notforprofit.gov.au/

The recently formed the Aust Charities and Not For Profit Commission was set up to bring order and discipline to the shambolic mess of organisations we currently have.

By all means go ahead, but do it with eyes wide open and without any emotionally driven fervour.

squib 7:46 am 06 Aug 13

Thanks for that Morgan. I want to be able to take donations, but at this stage I can go without them being tax-deductible. So I will start looking for an accountant!

Morgan 10:27 pm 05 Aug 13

Unless you want to take deductable donations it’s pretty simple. You probably need an accountant more than a lawyer to set up an entity.

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