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Setting up a Non-Profit?

I'm beginning to make some headway in getting disc golf course(s) built in Erie, PA (the county, not the city itself :D). Soon I'll be soliciting donations from area businesses and individuals.

The first step is, I imagine, to set up a local checking account, probably as a "DBA" account with something like "Erie Disc Golf Club" as the official name. I believe we'll first need to get about $6k for a local nine-hole course (baskets to start, tee pads and signs to follow once we're sure we like the layout and lengths), so it will be nice for donators to be able to write checks to "Erie Disc Golf Club" and not to me personally or something. It will also provide a clean balance sheet, etc.nnNow, obviously eventually the goal would be to have enough turnover in the account (money coming in from tournaments, money paid out to build or enhance new courses, etc.) but that's a few years away at least... but eventually, yes, we'd probably want to and need to form an actual non-profit business.

But for the first few years, when we have no large amount of money coming in or going out, and no members of the club are drawing a salary or doing anything (which may always be true), I'm assuming we can kind of get away with simply doing business under a DBA and leave it at that, no? We can change the people who can access the account if I hand it over to another treasurer, and so on, yes?

It may not be the "official" best 100% IRS-approved way of doing things, but it should suffice, no?

I'm just trying to avoid spending $2000 or whatever (and waiting six months, perhaps) when our entire first year's turnover might be $10k or less - and almost all money that comes in will go back out to pay for baskets or teepads or whatever.

Are there any thoughts on this? What have other local clubs done? Perhaps I'm wrong and for considerably less than $2000 I could "officially" create a non-profit or something?

I'll start a thread on DGCR with this same info here in the next few days.

Update: here is that thread.

One Response to "Setting up a Non-Profit?"

  1. Apparently I can set up a 501(c)(7) and it's meant for clubs and social groups. I'll look into this, but I'm still hoping it costs less than $500.