I have found a website that compiles various resources on starting a non profit. I especially like the Minnesota Council of NonProfits because the site gives information on governance, developing strategic alliances, fund raising and other ingredients of successfully running a non profit.
As for funding your non profit, I suggest you check out Foundation Center to help you gain ideas on how to properly establish your organization and get support from private foundations. They have the most extensive database of private donors, and they publish a magazine that can be very helpful to your new non profit.
I was previously involved in the setup of a non profit, and we were able to get a pro-bono lawyer who set up everything for us, including getting the 501c3 tax status. Contact other non profits in your area and check if there are lawyers willing to work for free to get you started.
Non profits are just like any business - you need to get the word out in order to get the needed funding to help support your activities. Here are some tips to help you market your non profit:
1. Determine your target audiences: who are the groups and audiences that your non profit wants to reach. Remember that one target group may respond differently to a marketing message as another group so make sure that each strategy is tailor made for each audience.
2. Develop a communications strategy, creating timelines for marketing efforts such as newsletters, press releases, special events, and others.
3. Develop a visual image. Prepare your logo and other branding tools - and use them consistently across various mediums. Make sure that you repeat your branding messages, slogans in everything you make from brochures to newsletters.
4. Employ multiple communications tactics: Nonprofit organizations often target several audiences, which may respond to different approaches. Various communications campaigns can help establish and maintain a more widespread positive image.
5. Select and use appropriate media: Plan to use a combination of approaches best suited to reaching your targeted audiences and that make best use of your financial resources. Include a variety of methods including phone calls, letters, e-mail, newsletters, PSAs, press releases, and editorials.
For detailed information on how to start a non profit, I suggest you read the following books:
- Starting and Running a Nonprofit Organization -- by Joan M. Hummel
- Starting and Running a Non-Profit Made Easy by Entrepreneur Press, David H. Bangs
- Starting & Building A Nonprofit: A Practical Guide by Peri Pakroo