On this page
- Starting a not-for-profit organisation
- Before you start a not-for-profit organisation
Starting a not-for-profit organisation
The not-for-profit sector faces unique legal issues. That’s why we’ve designed our online resources to help you navigate the key legal questions. Our resources provide legal information tailored to the not-for-profit sector, including how to choose the best legal structure for your group and how to set it up.
When starting a new not-for-profit organisation, things groups need to consider include:
- What does 'not for profit' mean?
- Should you incorporate or remain unincorporated?
- If you decide to incorporate, which incorporated legal structure should you choose?
- Should you register as a charity?
Getting these issues right at the start will save time, money, administrative headaches and possible legal difficulties for your organisation down the track.
Getting Started Tool: A free online tool
Need help making key legal decisions? Our self-help tool will ask you a series of questions about your new organisation - in plain and simple English - and will help determine the best way forward.
Before you start a not-for-profit organisation
Before you start a not-for-profit organisation, it’s important to have a clear idea about your group’s purpose and proposed activities, as well as the people that will be involved in your group.
The way you decide to organise your group may be one of the most important decisions you make because, with the right legal structure, your group will:
- be able carry out its activities effectively, and in a way that complies with the law
- minimise the chance the group will run into legal difficulties (and costs) as it grows or changes, and
- be in a better position to deal with legal issues if they do occur
Checklist: Questions about your group
We’ve created a checklist to help you answer some key questions about your group before starting a not-for-profit organisation.
Our checklist will help you make decisions about your group, such as the way to organise your group. It will also help to highlight any legal issues that your group may need to consider now, and in the future.
Once a community group is clear about its aims, membership and activities, it’s important for the group to decide whether to operate as a not-for-profit organisation or a for-profit organisation. View our resources on what not-for-profit means.
The content on this webpage was last updated in March 2022 and is not legal advice. See full disclaimer and copyright notice.