Developing a Timeline

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The success of a newly created foundation depends on having a clearly Timesx2designed plan of action. Clay et. al. (1985) suggest several basic steps:

  • Organize a planning committee.
  • Undertake the needs assessment.
  • Establish a strategy.
  • Undertake a feasibility study.
  • Establish goals and objectives.
  • Establish an operating budget.
  • Prepare a planning document.

During the initial meetings, it is important for the originator of the foundation to decide on the frequency of meetings, as well as on a definite agenda for future meetings.

Mancuso (2002) suggests the following steps in establishing a nonprofit foundation:

1) Contact the Secretary of State.
Nonprofit incorporation materials can be obtained from your Secretary of State. Follow this link to the site maintained by the National Association of Secretaries of State to find more nonprofit information materials for specific states.

2) Choose a name and submit it to the Secretary of State.
The Secretary of State will decide whether to validate the name you chose.

3) Prepare articles of incorporation.
The articles of incorporation specify the name of the corporation, the registered agent and office, statements of purpose, the number, names and address of initial directors, names and address of incorporators, the duration of the corporation, membership provisions, and additional provisions. Follow this link to view sample Articles of Incorporation.

4) File your articles of incorporation with the Secretary of State.

5) Prepare bylaws.
The bylaws are articles that regard the operation of the foundation.


  • Clay, K., Hughes, K.S., Seely, J.G. & Thayer, A.N. (1989). Public school foundations: Their organization and operation. Arlington, VA: Educational Research Service.
  • Mancuso, A. (2002). How to form a nonprofit corporation (5th ed.). Berkeley, CA: Nolo.