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Nonprofit Resources at the Library

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The Cobb Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship helps startup companies and individual entrepreneurs develop their businesses by providing a full-scale range of resources from your public library, Economic Development, and community partners.

Books and eBooks

Library resources will require your account login and pin for access.

Visit our online catalog to search for books and eBooks available to you for free with your library card. Or click on any of the links below to find books and eBooks by topic.

Courses and Webinars

Library resources will require your account login and pin for access.

Candid. (external resource)

Gale Courses offers you access to hundreds of instructor-led online courses covering everything from health and wellness to creative writing, computer programming, GED test preparation, and much more. Gale Courses courses are developed by expert instructors, many currently working at universities around the country, and have continuous enrollment dates. Each individual course is offered online for six weeks and features 12 lessons with online discussions, homework, quizzes, and a final exam.

Data Axle: Reference Solutions (formerly ReferenceUSA) is the premier source of business reference and research. Use Custom Search to find employers by geographic area or type of business; includes company contact name and address.

LinkedIn Learning is an online learning site that hosts a constantly growing library of over 3,000 courses that include over 130,000 videos. Courses cover a variety of topics (including business, design, web development, and multimedia skills) and software (Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, and open source applications) that can help you pursue personal and professional goals.

  • Business
  • Creative
  • Technology

Mango Languages is an online language learning resource, and the only single solution that combines quality content, intelligent technology, and an adaptive algorithm that delivers practical phrases from real situations.

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta (external resource)

Databases and Online Resources

Library resources will require your account login and pin for access.

Demographics, Survey, and Directory Information

Data Axle: Reference Solutions (formerly ReferenceUSA) is the premier source of business reference and research. Use Custom Search to find employers by geographic area or type of business; includes company contact name and address.

  • US Businesses
  • US New Businesses
  • US Standard White Pages
  • US Historical Businesses
  • US Jobs/Internships
  • US Healthcare
  • US Consumers/Lifestyles
  • US New Movers/Homeowners

Demographics Now offers a variety of simple, ready-to-use demographic data reports. Users may customize them by geography, choosing the area that best suits their needs. In addition, users may also run an unlimited number of reports in summary, comparison, or ranking formats.

Gale Directory Library provides access to several publications, including:

Polling the Nations is a comprehensive online database of public opinion polls containing the full text of more than 700,000 questions and responses from more than 18,000 surveys and 1,700 polling organizations, conducted from 1986 through the present in the United States and more than 100 other countries around the world.

With SimplyAnalytics, you can create professional quality thematic maps using 100,000+ data variables from industry-leading data partners. View data by state, congressional district, city, county, ZIP Code, census tract, or block group.  Intuitive reporting tools generate detailed custom reports for any location in the country. Add individual data variables or entire groups of variables and generate a report in seconds, or create a ring study report illustrating the characteristics of the 1-, 3-, and 5-mile radius surrounding your target location.  Search from over 22 million business points from Dun & Bradstreet and add them to a map or a detailed business report to find the best place to locate your business, manage the competition, or identify services. Select specific businesses using any combination of NAICS or SIC codes, legal name, company name, number of employees, total revenue, year started, and more.

Statistical Abstract of the United States is the authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic conditions of the United States.

Periodicals and Current Newspapers

Business Source Complete allows users to search and browse for articles in over 4,000 business journals, the Business Searching Interface allows for easy browsing of supplementary content such as company profiles, country reports, industry profiles, market research reports, SWOT analyses, and author profiles.

NewsBank America's News allows you to search current and archived local, state, regional, and national full-text articles on issues, events, business, health, education, people, government, sports, and more with nearly 1,000 newspapers, newswires, news videos, and web-only content including the Atlanta Journal Constitution (1985 - current), Augusta Chronicle (1994 - current), Marietta Daily Journal (10/29/98 - current), and USA Today (7/1/87 - current). offers breaking news coverage, video and multimedia access, email news alerts sent right to your email account. also offers a translated Spanish and Chinese edition of the paper.

ProQuest Digitized Newspapers provides instant online access to full-image newspapers in microfilm accessible through a web browser. The digital microfilm format has a short delay before new issues are included in the archive (approximately 3 months).

ProQuest Newspapers provides full-text access to major national newspapers including:

  • Christian Science Monitor (1988 - current)
  • Los Angeles Times (1985 - current)
  • New York Times; Late Edition, East Coast (1980 - current)
  • Wall Street Journal; Eastern Edition (1984 - current)

Wall Street Journal Online Access the Wall Street Journal from anywhere for free!

Grants and Fundraising

Cobb Collaborative

Cobb Collaborative is a membership of nonprofit organizations, local government, businesses, faith-based organizations, educational institutions, professional organizations, associations and citizens who share ideas, expertise and resources to meet the needs of Cobb County. To learn how they can assist you, start here.

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the CDBG program provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs. The CDBG program provides annual grants on a formula basis to Entitlement Communities as a means to support viable communities by providing decent housing, a suitable living environment, and opportunities to expand economic opportunities, principally for low and moderate-income persons. Get started here.

Georgia Center for Nonprofits

Fundraising is one of the biggest challenges nonprofit organizations face. Planning your fundraising strategy could make the difference between success and failure when it comes to the enacting of a development campaign. This solution set gives an overview of fundraising to help you forge a case for support, identify who is most likely to give to your mission, engage your board to fundraise and devise a plan that helps you steer your fundraising efforts. Learn more here.

National Council of Nonprofits

The National Council of Nonprofits produces and curates tools, resources, and samples for nonprofits. View the most recent additions, browse by category or tag, or search for the specific information. Get started here.


Interactive Maps

Community Resources in Cobb County Interactive Map

Created by the Cobb County GIS (Geographic Information System) Department. Find organizations that could assist you, or you could assist with donations or volunteering.


Get Help Interactive Map

Provided by the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Need help locating a food pantry near you or assistance with securing food, healthcare, childcare, or other necessities? Text 'FINDFOOD' (COMIDA for Spanish) to 888-976-2232 or find a food pantry near you below:

License to Solicit Donations

Fundraising activities are regulated by state law. The Georgia Charitable Solicitations Act of 1988 as amended (“Charitable Solicitations Act”) governs the registration, reporting, and enforcement of fundraising activities within the State of Georgia. The duty of the Division is to enforce the laws regulating charitable organizations, paid solicitors, and solicitor agents, and to ensure proper administration of funds dedicated to charitable purposes. Visit the Secretary of State's website.


Starting a Nonprofit

Georgia Center for Nonprofits

 Starting a Nonprofit Organization in Georgia provides information specific to starting a nonprofit in the state of Georgia. 

National Council of Nonprofits

The National Council of Nonprofits’ website walk you through some of the questions to ask before starting a nonprofit, filings you’ll need to complete at the federal and state level, and the standard policies and procedures that your new nonprofit will want to have in place.

Provided by Candid.

Starting a nonprofit organization can be an inspiring way to give back to your community and help those in need. However, it is important to understand all of the steps involved in this process before moving forward. Growing and sustaining a nonprofit may take years of effort and a great deal of determination.

The information provided in this article is intended to offer general guidance on how to form a nonprofit organization. Please note that specific steps may vary for each state, and we recommend consulting with a legal or tax professional for detailed assistance.

Step 1: Do Your Homework

Conduct a needs analysis

Find out if organizations (nonprofit, for-profit, or government) are already doing the same or similar work in your community. It will be harder to get support if you are just duplicating existing services rather than improving or adding to them. Also find demographic or population data that shows a need for your services, and explain how that need is not being met. Where can I find demographic information about my community?

Is a nonprofit right for you?

Public charities must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. If you want to start a nonprofit so you can get grants to pay yourself a salary, stop now and find another option. Realistically, many new nonprofits aren't even ready or eligible to get grants. Learn more about whether a nonprofit is right for you:

Know the alternatives

Forming a new nonprofit might be the most complicated way to act on your passion to serve your community. The biggest challenge for most new nonprofits is to develop and maintain reliable income streams. Estimates vary, but most experts agree that less than half of nonprofit startups survive beyond five years. Of those that survive, perhaps one-third are in financial distress.

Consider alternatives that can let you essentially operate as a nonprofit but with far less effort and cost. Thus, you can focus your efforts on serving your community right now while you develop experience and support that will serve you well if you eventually decide to form a separate organization.

Step 2: Build a Solid Foundation

Draft your mission statement

Developing your mission statement is a critical first step. It communicates your nonprofit's purpose, what groups it serves, and how it will serve them. Every decision and action in your organization should support and further your mission. Where can I learn about nonprofit mission statements?

Write a business plan

Just as with a for-profit business, a business plan can help a nonprofit describe how it intends to achieve its mission in more specific details. It also can be used to outline a new project or venture. How do I write a business plan for a nonprofit organization?

Develop your board

As your nonprofit's governing body, your board fulfills a variety of roles and legal responsibilities. In order to carry out these duties effectively, the board will change as your organization grows and matures. While recruitment is an important step in this process, a systematic approach to board development, including orientation, training, evaluation, and the cultivation of prospective board members, is critical to ensuring its long-term success.

Step 3: Incorporate Your Nonprofit

Now that you have reached this step, it's time to find resources that are specific to your location. The best place to start is by clicking on our Nonprofit Startup Resources by State.

Why should you incorporate?

  • Having a formal structure will give credibility to your programs and services.
  • The corporate structure limits the liability of the organization's officers and directors.
  • The IRS requires organizing documents and governance policies and procedures that are usually associated with corporations.

Learn more about how to incorporate your nonprofit. Filings and fees will vary by state. Also note, incorporation registers your nonprofit, but it does not make it 501(c)(3) exempt.

Step 4: File for 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Status

Apply for exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Be aware, the user fee will be $275 or $600, depending on your application method. It also can take 3-12 months for the IRS to return its decision, depending on how many questions the IRS has about your application. Where can I get help filling out my incorporation and tax-exempt 501(c)(3) paperwork?

Step 5: Ongoing Compliance

Register with your state's agency

Each state has an office charged with the oversight of charitable organizations and charitable solicitations (usually the Attorney General). If you plan to solicit contributions in other states, you may need to register there, too.

Prepare for annual reporting requirements

In most cases, an exempt organization must file some version of Form 990 with IRS, depending on its financial activity. Form 990 shows your finances, activities, governance processes, directors, and key staff, and it is open to public inspection. States have their own reporting and renewal requirements, too, and these will vary with each state. Thus, consider tracking your organization's finances and activities in a such a way that will help these annual reporting requirements occur smoothly.

Follow the rules

What activities can jeopardize a nonprofit organization's tax-exempt status?

Learn more now about starting a nonprofit with our free recorded webinars or tutorials:

Nonprofit Resources Provided by Community Partners

Cobb County Public Library cardholders have free, online access to hundreds of online resources and databases. Library cards are free for residents and property owners or available for a small fee for out of county residents. Visit our Library Cards and Accounts page to learn more.