Establishing a Charitable Foundation

Making the decision to establish or participate in a charitable foundation can be tough, especially in light of the many financial variables affecting associations in today's economic times. The resources presented below can help facilitate this decision-making process. You will find information pertaining to tax and legal issues, fundraising, as well as general tips on how to start a non-profit. You'll also discover a wide assortment of useful web sites as well as many valuable resources available from NAR.

What Is a Donor Bill of Rights?

A Donor Bill of Rights is a set of standards created by a group of professional fundraising societies for nonprofits to generate confidence between donors and donees. Board members of nonprofits should embrace these fundraising standards and also make certain that the development staff of their organization is familiar with a Donor Bill of Rights.

Legal Pros and Cons of Establishing a Charitable Organization

Now that every association is required to conduct community outreach under the Core Standards program, many are establishing separate charitable organizations to better manage their efforts.

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A Donor Bill of Rights helps leaders understand the donor expectations while bolstering donor confidence. It also outlines the donor's right to receive proper recognition, gain access to the organization's financial statements, obtain information on how funds are being distributed, and stay anonymous if desired.

A full text is available at Donor Bill of Rights.

Source: Association of Fundraising Professionals

Starting Out

Legal Pros & Cons of Establishing a Charitable Foundation, (National Association of REALTORS®, Oct. 24, 2016).

Association Charity Events, Fundraisers and Community Involvement, (National Association of REALTORS®, Feb. 19, 2015).

Starting a Nonprofit Organization: One-stop Answer Page, (The Balance, 2016).

How to Start a Charity, (Forbes, May 7, 2012).

Passion Strong, Process Long in Foundation Start, (Business First of Buffalo, Dec. 19, 2008).

Drive Your Own Charitable Financial Vehicle - Ensemble Dangles Keys to a Private Foundation, (San Francisco Business Times, Oct. 10, 2008).

Entrepreneurs Foundation Gives Advise on Giving Back, (San Jose Business Journal, Sept. 19, 2008).

Charity Work Brings Associations a Sense of Fellowship and Service, Plus Valuable Media Attention, (REALTOR® Association Executive, Fall 2007).

Tax & Legal Issues

IRS: Tax Information for Charities and Other Non-profits, (Internal Revenue Service, 2016).

5 Ongoing Legal Issues for Non-Profit Boards, (Corporate Law Report, Apr. 9, 2012).

How to Hire a Lawyer, (REALTOR® Association Executive, Winter 2008).


The Cost of Online Giving, (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 17, 2011). 

Putting Charities to the Financial Test, (Wall Street Journal, Nov. 28, 2011).

Small Board Spotlight - Fundraising Event, (REALTOR® Association Executive, Winter 2007).

Useful Websites

Association of Fundraising Professionals

Council on Foundations

The Foundation Center

The Internal Revenue Service

National Philanthropic Trust

The inclusion of links on this page does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this page complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.