Operations Checklist

Top 12 operational items when starting a new social venture


1. Find an attorney

Ideally one that will do pro bono or reduced rate work at the start.


2. Apply for a tax ID number

          You will most likely be

required to show a tax id number

         when applying for a bank account.


3. File for legal status.

        If you decided to be a nonprofit, you may consider 

fiscal sponsorship

       prior to receiving your 501c3 status.


4. Determine an acceptable legal name and get it registered.

    Make sure you can also get the domain name!

5. Get insurance and venture licensing in the city/county/state where you are headquartered or doing most of your work.

    For nonprofits, many states require that you register with a state charities oversight agency.

6. Find your first funding source(s).

Whether you decide to use crowdfunding or friends and family, carefully consider which one is best suited to finance your venture.


7. Set up basic accounting system

      You will need to choose between fiscal versus calendar year, and cash versus accrual accounting. Consider

Quick Lookbook from Intuit


8. Space – determine where you will work

      Consider using a flexible space initially, such as

NextSpace, HUB, or StartX

    (requires an additional application).


9. Create a simple website and register with social media.

        Check out:




      As a start for website building. Alternatively, consider pro-bono web design teams:

A Billion + Change - Good Karma Sites - Pro Bono Web Design - Grassroots Website Tools.


10. Order business cards with official titles and company name.


    Offers 250 free business cards to get started.


11. Prepare to do a lot of contracts.

      Make sure anyone who is involved in your start up (employees, consultants, advisors) sign a non-disclosure agreement and an

"assignment of invention"

    agreement which ensures that all IP is assigned to the company.


12. If you have intellectual property, check licensing guides

Consider Stanford Office of Technology Licensing's Start Up Guide.


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