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 Know When Buying An Existing Business

If you are thinking about a new venture, expanding an existing business or entering a new market, one option you might consider is to buy an established business. There are advantages and disadvantages when buying an existing business compared with starting your own....

What Happens If Executors of a Will Disagree

When someone dies, their assets are usually distributed according to their will. The person responsible for managing and distributing these assets is the “executor” of the deceased estate. In some cases, a will appoints more than one person to act as executor, and...

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,...