Startup Costs for a Not-for-profit Business

Costs to start a not-for-profit in Australia

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Starting a not-for-profit organisation can be a rewarding and impactful way to give back to the community. However, as with any business venture, there are costs involved in setting up and maintaining a not-for-profit organization in Australia.

In this article, we’ll explore the costs associated with starting a not-for-profit in Australia, from registration fees to ongoing operating expenses.

The below table provides a rough guide to the monthly costs required to start a not-for-profit business in Australia. Please note that these costs are only a guide and actual costs may vary depending on the nature and size of the business, as well as the location and experience of the professionals engaged.

Monthly Costs to run a Non-Profit Organisation in Australia

ItemMonthly Cost Range
Registration fees$0 – $50
Legal fees$500 – $1,500
Accounting$250 – $750
Insurance$100 – $500
Office space$500 – $2,000
Marketing$500 – $1,500
Staffing$1,500 – $5,000

Again, these costs are only a rough guide and actual costs may vary. It’s always best to seek professional advice and obtain detailed cost estimates to ensure that you have a comprehensive understanding of the expenses required to start and maintain a successful not-for-profit business in Australia.

Registration fees

The first cost associated with starting a not-for-profit in Australia is the registration fee. To be recognized as a not-for-profit, your organization will need to register with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). The registration fee for a small not-for-profit organization (with revenue of less than $250,000) is currently $50. For larger organizations, the fee increases to $500.

Legal fees

Depending on the complexity of your not-for-profit’s legal structure and governance, you may need to engage the services of a lawyer to assist with the registration process. Legal fees can vary widely depending on the size and complexity of your organization, but it’s not uncommon for fees to run into the thousands of dollars.

Accounting and bookkeeping fees

As a not-for-profit organization, you’ll be required to keep accurate financial records and submit regular reports to the ACNC. Depending on the size and complexity of your organization, you may need to engage the services of an accountant or bookkeeper to assist with this process. Fees for these services can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars per year.


Not-for-profit organisations in Australia are required to carry certain types of insurance, including public liability insurance and volunteer personal accident insurance. Depending on the nature of your organisation’s activities, you may also need to consider additional insurance coverage, such as professional indemnity insurance. Insurance costs can vary widely depending on the size and scope of your organisation, but it’s important to budget for these expenses to ensure you’re adequately covered in the event of an accident or other unforeseen event.

Office space and equipment

If your not-for-profit organization requires office space or equipment, these expenses can add up quickly. Depending on your needs, you may be able to find affordable office space through a co-working or shared office arrangement. You may also be able to save money on equipment by purchasing used or refurbished items.

Marketing and advertising

To attract volunteers, donors, and supporters, your not-for-profit organization will need to engage in marketing and advertising activities. These can include creating a website, social media accounts, and other promotional materials. While some of these activities can be done in-house, you may need to engage the services of a marketing or advertising agency to help with more complex projects. Costs for these services can range widely, so it’s important to research your options and budget accordingly.

Fundraising costs

Not-for-profit organizations rely on donations and fundraising activities to support their programs and activities. However, fundraising can come with its own set of costs, including event planning and promotion, materials and supplies, and staff time. It’s important to budget for these expenses and to have a clear plan in place for how you’ll raise funds and allocate resources to support your organization’s mission.

Staffing and volunteer expenses

Finally, it’s important to consider the costs associated with staffing and engaging volunteers. If you plan to hire staff, you’ll need to budget for salaries, benefits, and other employment-related expenses. If you rely on volunteers, you’ll still need to cover expenses such as training, supervision, and materials. While volunteers can be a valuable resource for not-for-profit organizations, it’s important to recognize that engaging volunteers also comes with costs.

In conclusion, while starting a not-for-profit organization in Australia can be a worthwhile endeavor, it’s important to carefully consider the costs involved and budget accordingly. From registration fees to ongoing operating expenses, there are a range of costs that need to be taken into account. By planning ahead and being mindful of these costs, you can set your organization up for long-term success and ensure that you’re able to make a meaningful impact in your community.

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