Checklist for starting a Not For Profit

The Starting a Not For Profit section has more details and links for the things you need to consider and the steps you need to follow to begin operating as a NFP organisation.

This checklist is a quick reference that you can print out and use as a guide as you move through the tasks of starting a Not For Profit.


  • Research the best legal structure for your organisation
    See Choosing a legal structure for more information
  • Choose a leadership team (committee of management, directors, etc.) depending on the legal structure
    See Boards and committees in the Managing your organisation section for more information
  • Make sure your leadership team understands their responsibilities
    See Boards and committees in the Managing your organisation section for more information.


  • Agree on a name, and if there‚Äôs a group of you involved, have a couple of backup options in case your first preference is not available
  • Take note of what has to be included in the name, depending on your legal structure
    See Legal requirements for names in Choosing and registering a name for more information
  • Check if your preferred name is available.
    See Checking the name is available in Choosing and registering a name.


  • Register your organisation with the appropriate authority, e.g. Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) for an incorporated association, ASIC for a company limited by guarantee, CAV for a co-operative and the Office of the Registrar for Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) for an indigenous corporation
    See Registering a Not For Profit
  • Apply for an ABN with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
    See Do we need to apply for an ABN? in Registering a Not For Profit
  • Decide if you need to register for Goods and Services Tax (GST)
    See Do we need to register for GST? in Registering a Not For Profit
  • Register with your peak body or association, if required.
    Check Your Not For Profit for information on relevant peak bodies and associations for your sector. 


  • Decide who will do the work (volunteers, employees, independent contractors) and put the right agreements in place
  • Consider whether you need to arrange background checks or Working With Children checks
    See Working with children and other checks in Managing people
  • Ensure you have created a safe and healthy workplace for all your workers
    See Keeping your workers safe in Managing people.


  • Seek professional advice about the insurance you need. Investigate Public Liability Insurance, Directors Insurance, WorkCover (for employees and other workers), Personal Accident Insurance (for volunteers), and Product Liability Insurance
    See Insurance under Running events and check pages for Boards and committees in Managing your organisation, and Employees, Volunteers and Independent contractors in Managing people.
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