Some of the greatest and most successful open source projects only started becoming more accessible to financial/economical leverage (i.e. contract work) by becoming a non profit organization/foundation first.
What are usually the necessary setup steps for an open source project to become a non profit, and what are the prerequisites, as well as potential pitfalls in that process - but also the management burden, once you actually have become a non profit?
Is it worth the hassle?
At a minimum, a non-profit takes 3 people to form the board of directors. Figure, a lawyer or accountant, an engineer, and a manager/front person makes a good start up team. And really, at the board level, each person should (ideally) understand all 3 (or 5) aspects of the business. Also, these 3 people need to get well enough along to focus on the development of the business and not get bogged down in ego battles, pissing matches and trivialities. In some ways, your relationship with your business partners is more complex (and more important) than your marriage/SO/gf. Really! Since in a busy business you will likely spend more time with your partners than your partner.
So, a non-profit is a business and if it's treated like a hobby it will fail. If you have a compelling product, a good team, the right sales pitch (whether to customers or to donators/grantors it's still a sales pitch), and enough time, you may have a lot of fun and succeed.
It's a fair amount of work. If the project is large enough, it can be worthwhile.
I'd recommend reading up on the subject. Forming a non-profit (in the US) is pretty much like forming a corporation, but with less control. There are many hoops you need to jump through, and the major benefit is the tax status.
However, if you're getting enough donations, it can be worthwhile.
Check The Software Freedom Law Show, Episode 0x00 starting from 9:00. I wish they had transcript.