Talk:How to Start a Free Geek
And away we go...
Please read all of the documentation. There's a good general overview at Free Geek Startups, including instructions for joining or searching the mailing list. Then fill out the Free Geek Startup Trademark Use Application and send it in. Applications will be reviewed and those that are approved can start the second step.
Fill out the Final Application for Ongoing Status as a Free Geek. Approved applicants will be able to use the name "Free Geek" in their organization's name.
Becoming a 501(c)(3) Organization
- Create an organization name and mission statement. See Free Geek Principles for rules on the use the the name Free Geek. Free Geeks Mission Statement reads:
"FREE GEEK is a non-profit organization that recycles used technology and provides computers, education, job skills training and access to the internet to those in need in exchange for community service".
- Register as a non-profit corporation in your State (There should be a form for Articles of Incorporation that you can download from your Secretary of States website). This costs $25 in Oregon, your state should be similar.
- Form a board of directors, each state has different rules as to the minimum required. Oregon is two (President and Secretary). The board of directors is the legally and fiscally responsible body. Treat this step seriously; future funders will want to be confident that your organization has good board oversight. Here is a copy of the Free Geek Bylaws. Please feel free to adapt it for your use. The first action of the new board is to adopt the Bylaws. You are now officially on your way.
- File for 501(c)(3)tax exempt status with the IRS using form 1023. It costs around $250 for small non-profits. This can take anywhere from 6 weeks to a year. Helpful hint: If you can find an attorney to either serve on your board or offer pro bono legal services, they can really help move the process along. Having your information sent to the IRS under official letterhead from your "attorney" really helps with the legitimacy of your application attempt. Check out the Internet Nonprofit Center , a huge resource of information. When you get approved by the IRS, your "official" starting date for your non-profit back dates to the date of Incorporation or the beginning of the calendar year with ever comes last.
What to do while waiting for the IRS to approve you:
There is a legal instrument that is called Fiscal Sponsorship, that allows other non-profits in your state to put your new organization under their umbrella of tax-exempt status. This allows you to provide tax reciepts prior to obtaining tax-exempt status yourself. This is not a great option, as it is very complicated for you and the covering organization and if done incorrectly, can put your 501(c)(3) application and the tax-exempt status of the sponsoring organization at risk.
Old Talk Page
- Non-Profit Status / Template
Here's a loose list of documents needed. . . .
Memorandum of Intention, a legal document that allows you a tax-deduction for the fees you pay for the state and federal governments for incorporation and 501(c)(3) application.
5 required legal documents for your organization, only a lawyer should prepare legal documents.
- Articles of Incorporation (may be called Certificate of Incorporation, Articles of Organization, Articles of Agreement, Articles of Association or Charter in your state). If you are already incorporated.
- Bylaws You need them to be clear, consistent and unambiguous (especially if there should ever be internal dissension).
- Appointment of Initial Directors-Trustees, to get your new directors appointed.
- Action of Board of Directors-Trustees (or Unanimous Written Consent of Directors/ Trustees), adopting Bylaws, voting in officers, confirming the agent for service of process, etc.
- Certificate of Secretary re Adoption of Bylaws.
- Conflict of Interest Policy, a corporate resolution adopting the conflict of interest policy that is recommended by the IRS.
- For schools, a corporate resolution for the required Racially Nondiscriminatory Policy.
10 More Legal Documents you will find most useful for your organization.
- Unanimous Written Consent of Directors (for Corporate Resolutions). This is the easiest way to get things done if you don't want to wait until your Annual Meeting of Board of Directors and don't wish to call a Special Meeting of Board of Directors (maybe it's not convenient for your directors to get together). A corporate resolution is especially useful for amendments to Articles or Bylaws and to replace a director or officer.
- Resignation of Director or Officer. This form can be used if a director or officer resigns.
- Unanimous Written Consent of Directors to Set Time and Date for Annual Meeting of Board of Directors. If we prepare your Bylaws, the time and date will not be set so you can change the time and date without amending your Bylaws. (You must notify the IRS when you amend your Bylaws.) It is a good idea to set the time and date by using this form.
- Unanimous Written Consent of Directors to Change Location of Annual Meeting of Board of Directors. If we prepare your Bylaws, they state that the Annual Meeting of Board of Directors will be held at the principal office of the corporation. You may state a different location if you prefer by corporate resolution or if it is a one-time change, with the Waiver of Notice and Consent to Holding of Annual Meeting of Board of Directors.
- Unanimous Written Consent of Directors to Establish End of Annual Accounting Period. If we prepare your Bylaws, we will establish the end of your Annual Accounting Period. If you want to change this date, or if you use your own Bylaws and they don't establish the end of your annual accounting period, you can use this form.
- Waiver of Notice and Consent to Holding of Annual Meeting of Board of Directors. All directors should sign the Waiver of Notice and Consent to Holding of Annual Meeting of Board of Directors to avoid a challenge to the legality of the meeting or any action taken at the meeting. This is especially important if not all directors can make it to the meeting.
- Minutes of Annual Meeting of Board of Directors. These are absolutely necessary. With our Bylaws, you can have your Annual Meeting of Board of Directors by telephone, as long as everyone at the meeting can hear each other.
- Waiver of Notice and Consent for Special Meeting of Board of Directors. All directors should sign the Waiver of Notice and Consent to Holding of Special Meeting of Board of Directors to avoid a challenge to the legality of the meeting or any action taken at the meeting. This is especially important if not all directors can make it to the meeting.
- Minutes of Special Meeting of Board of Directors. These are absolutely necessary. With our Bylaws, you can have your Annual Meeting of Board of Directors by telephone, as long as everyone in the meeting can hear everyone else.
All your 501(c)(3) documents.
- Form 1023
- Schedules as needed:
- Schedule A Churches
- Schedule B Schools, Colleges and Universities
- Schedule C Hospitals and Medical Research Organizations
- Schedule D 509(a)(3) Supporting Organizations
- Schedule E Organizations Not Filing Form 1023 Within 27 Months of Formation
- Schedule F Homes for the Elderly or Handicapped and Low-Income Housing n
- Schedule G Successors to Other Organizations
- Schedule H Organizations Providing Scholarships, Fellowships, Educational Loans, or Other Educational Grants to Individuals and Private Foundations Requesting Advance Approval of Individual Grant Procedures
- 501(c)(3) Tax-exempt Status: You will get a letter after filing your application that says you will hear from the IRS in 120 days. They don't always make it. Right now they are taking about 200 days. But for new organizations, your tax-exempt status will be retroactive to the date of the filing of the Articles, so donations you receive while waiting will be retroactively tax-deductible.
- Aside from helping in a disaster where time is crucial (such as the recent Katrina hurricane disaster), the only way to shorten the time with the IRS is if you have a pending grant waiting for you that you will lose if you don't get your status quickly, and the loss of that grant will "adversely impact on the organization's ability to continue operating." (The IRS turns down 82% of requests for expedited filing.)
- Corporate minute book - Try www.blumberg.com
- (click Corporate, LLC and LP Products/Minute Books and Paper.)
- How-To: http://www.wikihow.com/Start-a-501c3-Nonprofit-Organization
- Non-Profit Law: http://www.geocities.com/a.hereford/nonprofit.html
Other Notes to be sorted
The critical first step in setting up a non-profit or hybrid (for benefit/for profit) is to be clear about its purpose. This is a required element of a 501(c)3 application (IRS 1023 form), and it is key to informing the division between for-profit and for-benefit activities.
Quality, affordable technology for the whole community
- Advocate open source software
- Make technology available to people and organizations with limited resources
- Secondary benefits
- Alleviate electronic waste
- Return power and control to people
- Contribute technical capabilities to community
Resources for non-profit status filing.
- Whatcom Non-profits: http://www.whatcomnonprofits.org/
- Good information about non-profits. We would be well served to have attorney from Bellingham.
|A basic overview of some of the stumbling points on the form.||http://www.form1023help.com/|
|A $37 e-book with detailed information about the new 2006 IRS 1023 form.||http://www.501c3book.com/|
|A business Plan howto.||http://www.tess.org/misc/010708NP_Biz_Plan.pdf|
|Here's a 1023 from 2004, with attached schedules available for review.
The form is different now, but helpful to see a filled-out form plus attachments.
|Assistance with filling out Tax Exempt Status (was a google-ad, not sure how helpful it is)||http://www.tax-exempt-status.com/|
|Other sites :||http://www.charitychannel.com/|