• Calandra M. Williams

8 Simple Steps to Start a Nonprofit Business

Do you have an idea that you’ve been sitting on for weeks, months, years and you feel it’s time to start a nonprofit business? In honor of National Small Business Month, here’s an 8-step checklist to help you launch your nonprofit idea.

1. Choose a name. Pick a name that reflects your brand identity and reflects your business plan. Check for trademarks. Is your name registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office? Pick a name that you can purchase a domain for. Claim your social media identity.

2. File articles of incorporation. File your articles of incorporation with the secretary of state in which your nonprofit will operate.

3. Apply for IRS tax exemption. Submit a federal 501(c)(3) tax application to the IRS. You must use wither the 1023 or 1023EZ form.

4. Apply for state tax exemption. In some states this is automatically granted once you’re incorporated as a nonprofit on the state level. For others, you may have to apply for the state exemption with your state tax agency.

5. Draft bylaws. Your nonprofit is required to have governing rules and procedures. The bylaws are adopted by the Board of Directors at the first board meeting.

6. Appoint directors. A minimum of three directors are required to make major policy and financial decisions for the nonprofit.

7. Hold a meeting of the board. The first meeting adopts the bylaws, elects officers and records the receipt of the federal and state tax exemption. After the meeting is finish meeting minutes should be recorded and filed in the nonprofit binder.

8. Obtain licenses and permits. Check with your state licensing agency for information concerning state licensing requirements.

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