A Faster Way to Setup a Nonprofit

Would you believe there’s a way to start a nonprofit initiative and receive tax-deductible donations in less than a week? For reals! For example, you can now donate to support the Erasing Shame podcast at erasingshame.com/donate – what a great nonprofit hack!

How long it usually takes to setup a nonprofit

Usually it takes 6 to 12 months to get all the paperwork, application, board governance, incorporation, meetings, etc etc etc to get a 501c3 nonprofit organization launched. That’s a long time in today’s fast-moving and fast-changing world. And depending on what your team is planning to do, that is the appropriate process for long-term efforts and complete control.

“It only takes 7 days and $1,000 to setup a for-profit. But it takes up to 12 months and $25,000 to setup a nonprofit.”


I’ve been working in the nonprofit world for nearly 20 years and didn’t know there was an alternative; it’s called a fiscal sponsorship. There’s a whole directory and network for these special types of nonprofits that provide the organizational legal and financial structure. With their fiscal sponsorship, a smaller social impact initiative can get setup for more funding potential (like grants, and donors who give more because of a tax deduction) than a mere crowdfunding campaign on kickstarter, gofundme, or patreon.

How to Get a Nonprofit Status Super Fast

Each fiscal sponsor has its own terms of use, policies, causes it will or will not sponsor, add-on services, and an admin fee of typically 5% to 10%. Please do your due diligence to find one that fits what you’re doing by using the directory.

For Erasing Shame podcast, I went with Pledges.com. The simplicity, their back story, and the flat-fee pricing were 3 of the primary reasons I decided to go with this fiscal sponsor.

Oh, btw, some people won’t like calling this a nonprofit hack; lawyers and accountants especially. So, this is not a nonprofit hack; it’s a legitimate legal entity and organizational relationship called a fiscal sponsorship, though the technical definition for that term isn’t used consistently by all.

And One More Thing—a Big Bonus

How about $10,000 to match every dollar your project raises during the first 4 years? That’s what Pledges.com will do, is match your donations up to $2500 per year. So if your project receives $1000 in donations in year one, you get $2000 in your bank account! (Note: this matching fund is subject to change, though no urgency has been indicated that it’s a “limited time offer” at the time of this writing)

Does this sound amazing? Too good to be true? The best kept secret, right? You can prove it works by donating $20 to Erasing Shame and I’ll show you the amount that drops into its bank account.

What else do you want to know?

Add your questions and comments, then I’ll answer what I can and others can chime in too. As I continue this adventure, I may be inspired to share more of good learnings and insights.

One last thing, a shout out to Breaking Taboo. Several months ago, I noticed that they were receiving tax-deductible donations via Social Good Fund. Then when I felt motivated and inspired to look into this a bit more recently, I discovered a whole new world!

By the way, another example of a fiscal sponsor with current UX/UI design is dot.NGO [with an admin fee of 8% and donations received in 2-3 business days]

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