Starting a non-profit?

I am wanting to start a non-profit, but I am SO confused about the structure and rules. I have tried reading and searching the internet for my answers – only to end up with a bigger headache.

I know that the main rule is, at the end of the year there should not be a profit on the books. I know that there can be salaried employees. I know that you can include rent, utilities, office supplies, and other business related expenses into what brings you back down to not making a profit. I think?

I want to know if I can make a small salary for my time – I truly do want most of the money to go to "the cause", but I also cannot focus on growth – while having to work a "real" job. I have bills like everyone else, and just need to know if this is possible before sinking some of my savings into this venture.

Thanks for all of your help in advance!
I want a non-profit 501(c)3 that raises money for a charity/medical cause that is already in place, but I want it on a local scale. I have volunteered/been employed by a NPO and see the monies we raise during a fundraiser go to waste (I feel). I know with the 501(c)3 status, people are more inclined to donate – because they relate it to a tax deduction/actual good cause. This may also help with local businesses donating food/supplies/facilities for fund-raising events?

I also want to help the people who will someday volunteer at said NPO by possibly giving a scholarship for undergrad/grad school – would that be possible?

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