Screwtape’s 10 Pieces of Advice to Founders of Nonprofits


  1. Build it and they will come. You need to create a nonprofit before you start looking for donations.
  2. Don't waste your time with a business plan. The world moves so fast, it would be useless in a few months. Just go with the flow and follow the opportunities as they come.
  3. No matter what anyone says, it's your nonprofit; construct it to serve your interests and what you think is best.
  4. Use form documents you find on the internet to create articles of incorporation and bylaws. It's all boilerplate and it's not like anyone will bother to read them.
  5. Fill your board with relatives, friends, and a few rich people who will provide big donations but stay out of the way on decision-making. Give them some public recognition and they'll be happy.
  6. You deserve to be compensated for all of your volunteer efforts; once the nonprofit starts making money, make sure it gives you back pay for all that volunteer work you did. And make it your primary goal to create a job with a lucrative salary for yourself; you deserve it.
  7. Don't hire any employees, make them all independent contractors so you don't have to worry about employee rights, worker's comp, and payroll tax withholding.
  8. Insurance is for losers; you're a winner. Don't waste your money.
  9. In the early years, it's all about the fundraising. You can focus on mission later.
  10. Don't worry about legal compliance. Even if you break the law, you're a charity, nobody will go after you.


2 thoughts on “Screwtape’s 10 Pieces of Advice to Founders of Nonprofits

  1. Lalawelsh, we at the Nonprofit Law Blog completely agree with you. This is terrible advice, but many of us have seen such advice given out regularly. We ask all our readers to consider the source of the information (see the photo of our guest poster).

  2. This is the worst advice for Nonprofits I’ve seen. The assumptions are cavalier and completely outdated. The new IRS regulations are much stricter than ever before and funders are more careful than ever on who they fund. Following this advice could land you in serious trouble.

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