These are the basic requirements. Organizing a charitable organization should include a number of operational duties for the survival of the business. At a minimum, these items should include a strategic plan, case statement, articles of incorporation, budget, and set of bylaws. Labyrinth, Inc. does not help start up new charities. We help existing nonprofits, register in various states so that they can solicit contributions from donors in these states. If you need help starting a nonprofit (i.e. incorporating or getting 501(c)(3) status) we suggest hiring The Marker Law Firm.
1) Determine whether you really need to start a charitable enterprise. Would
you be better off to filing as a small business or for-profit corporation? Keep
in mind that there are many rules and regulations that govern the operation
of a nonprofit corporation, depending upon the state in which the business
is located. This may include a yearly audit or tax forms to special reporting
Another thing to consider is that there is usually more administrative paperwork
necessary to operate a charitable organization than a for-profit business (sole
You will be asked to define your charitable purpose and will have regulations
that will govern the amount of compensation to your board of directors and/or
2) Check with your state business office to determine their
3) Check with the IRS office to file the necessary forms.
Determine what type of entity classification you will use.
Not all will have tax-exempt status. The most common form is the 501(c)3, tax
exempt organization, organized for charitable purposes.
Questions? Consult an attorney after reading the requirements
of each option. IRS publication #557, Tax Exempt Status for Your Organization
is very helpful. It explains the application procedures and forms required.
To obtain IRS Forms and Publications at the IRS Web Site:
3) Depending on organizing requirements, you may need to develop a set
of bylaws to guide the operations of your organization, and a set of articles
of incorporation. The bylaws are extremely important. They should provide
instructions as to the selection, responsibilities, and continuance of board
members, membership requirements, officers, deposits, committee structures,
notices, and other personal and insurance questions as they relate to the
operations of the specific nonprofit business.
The Articles of Incorporation name the entity, its location,
the organizing purposes, liability, and include the dissolution requirements
of the corporation.
While you can draft these documents and incorporate yourself, you can also use a firm to incorporate your nonprofit for you. One good option is Floyd Green Services, who can register you quite affordably. You can get more information about their services by emailing Ksenia O’Connor.
Government publications that are available:
To view Publication 557 – Tax Exempt Status of Your Organization
Online and to download forms and get information:
To download Publication 557 – Tax Exempt Status of Your
Organization: Use Adobe Acrobat to read this lengthy
document. It describes the different types of entities and provides information about requirements.