Nonprofit Essentials 101

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Nonprofit Essentials 101

Nonprofit Essentials 101

What to do in your first 12 months!

Language: english

Note: 5.0/5 (2 notes) 693 students  New course 

Instructor(s): Cheryl Smith

Last update: 2022-10-26

What you’ll learn

  • To develop a quarterly checklist of key activities to work on soon after becoming a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization
  • Prepare a nonprofit corporate binder for board meeting
  • How to conduct your initial board meetings and properly vote in directors
  • Which board committees may be needed for your organizations
  • Which insurance policies are available for nonprofit organizations
  • Why nonprofit internal controls are important for nonprofit organizations
  • Which 3 planning documents are vital for nonprofits
  • What to look for when bringing on new board members
  • When to develop a new fiscal year budget
  • How to get ready for federal grants
  • What should go in a grant proposal
  • Where to find free grant lists and other nonprofit resources



  • There are no prerequisite skills or courses needed.




Starting a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization is a major decision that requires significant forethought before and after you receive IRS tax exemption. As a nonprofit founder and or new board member, you will likely have questions that you already know to ask or seek answers for, and there will be questions that you don’t even know to ask! That is exactly why this training course was developed; to help you find your way during your first 12 months of becoming a nonprofit founder or board member.

About this Course

Nonprofit Essentials 101: What to do in your first 12 months is a product of more than 25 years of working both in the nonprofit and and for-profit sectors. This course highlights what nonprofit public charity founders and leaders must do in their inaugural year, at a very basic level, to build and sustain a nonprofit that is compliant and sustainable.  Many nonprofit founders have never owned a business, rather, they are simply people with a “Big-Amazing-Heart” for balancing societal norms.  This course helps those who are considering establishing a U.S. nonprofit public charity or those who have recently taken this huge step to plan for success in the nonprofit sector. 

This course seeks to equip nonprofit founders and leaders, and anyone else with an interest in a nonprofit public charity, with strategies and techniques that can support the development of your new organization. This course identifies best practices in order for nonprofits to not only survive but thrive in a growing sector that welcomes about 6,000 newly registered U.S. nonprofits EVERY month!  During our time together, I will share how to best prepare for your first board meeting; board responsibilities; the type of nonprofit insurance that you may need; and internal controls that help to mitigate fraud within an organization.  I will also give attention to planning documents to help you build your case for funding; resources to help you further your mission, board expansion and composition tips; budgeting; applying for grants, and so much more!

Dispelling Myths

Many believe that the nonprofit public charity should not and cannot not legally earn a profit. To the contrary, a nonprofit public charity is a business, and generating income for the business is integral to its sustainability.  Others believe they can form a nonprofit and obtain full funding immediately without doing the hard work of laying a solid foundation or even starting their program and tracking success.  While this is certainly possible, it is highly unlikely.  This course will address these sort of myths. 

At the conclusion of this course, it is my sincere hope that you feel inspired to lead the organization that you’ve always dreamed that you would one day lead. You have everything it takes to succeed. This course is just your reminder!

Who this course is for:

This course is for nonprofit Founders, Executive Directors, Board Members, Staff of Nonprofits, Volunteers of Nonprofits, Funders, and others with an interest in U.S. nonprofit public charities.

This material would not be helpful for a person exclusively looking for guidance for a for-profit business.


Who this course is for

  • This course is intended for U.S. Nonprofit 501c3 Organizations; however, the content is very universal and can be applied to most public charities anywhere in the world.


Course content

  • Introduction
    • Course Disclaimer
    • Course Primer
    • Course Objectives
    • How to Get the Most Out of This Course
  • Quarterly Planning
    • INTRO TO QUARTER 1 : Preparing Your Corporate Binder
    • Your First Board Meeting
    • Nonprofit Board Committees
    • Resources & Program Development
    • Nonprofit Insurance
    • Nonprofit Internal Controls
    • INTRO to QUARTER 2: Strategic Support
    • Program Operations
    • Generating Money For Your Nonprofit
    • INTRO to QUARTER 3: Launch Your Program
    • Nonprofit Planning Documents
    • Implement Your Funding Plan
    • Nonprofit Professional Development
    • INTRO to QUARTER 4: Board Expansion
    • Season for Budget Development
    • Getting Ready for Federal Grants
  • Nonprofit Compliance
    • Nonprofit State and Federal Compliance
    • Charitable Registration
    • Nonprofit Support
  • Concluding Thoughts
    • Bonus Lecture 1: Nonprofit Support
    • Bonus Lecture 2: Applying for Grants!
    • Concluding Thoughts


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