How to set up a not-for-profit company

Written by David McDonald.

I was recently asked while watching my son play soccer if I knew how to set up a not-for-profit. After 9 years on the board of the Fremantle Foundation, I was able to answer that question.

The answer depends upon the type of legal structure you wish to use but a common structure that I would recommend is that of:

  1. A company limited by guarantee, which can be acquired from a provider of shelf companies;
  2. Adopt the model constitution as provided by the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission:;
  3. If you wish to create a public ancillary fund then a model trust deed is available at the ATO website:
  4. Justice Connect provides a guide for directors and officeholders running a charitable company limited by guarantee:

If you are considering setting up a public ancillary fund I recommend that you consider contacting Dylan Smith ([email protected]) at the Fremantle Foundation ( to consider whether a named fund within the Fremantle Foundation would suit your purposes better than establishing a new stand-alone public ancillary fund and having to comply with the obligations imposed upon the directors of the trustee company as set out in guide prepared by Justice Connect.

What to do if you can’t find your trust deed

Losing a trust deed is not something anyone plans to do. Not only is a lost trust deed inconvenient it can also have serious consequences. Even if the trust can continue operating, without having the trust deed to reference it may be very difficult, if not impossible,...

Do we have an agreement? Contract law 101

A contract is a legally binding agreement between one or more parties. These agreements set out the terms and conditions of a transaction. If a contract is properly formed, then its terms can be enforced by a court. However, not every document that is called a...

Succession Planning for Business Owners

As a business owner you deal with many responsibilities, including having to decide what to do with your business when you move on. Sometimes the logical endgame for a business is to be wound up, but in most cases, the aim is a smooth transition to new ownership. This...