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.

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