You've traveled the world from Africa to Indonesia. You've lived overseas, fed the homeless, and put in countless hours at the Red Cross. Now, you want to start your own nonprofit. Whether you are hoping to cure cancer, help raise awareness for HIV/AIDS, or simply want to make sure low-income families are provided with basic needs such as food and shelter, forming a nonprofit corporation may be right for you.
For more information, see FindLaw's Nonprofit Organizations section.
Why Create a Nonprofit?
Why do people create nonprofits? Typically it is because they have a drive to make a difference about a cause that is close to their hearts or has affected them personally in some way. Simply put, nonprofits handle the hard issues and make the world a better place.
If you are thinking of starting a nonprofit corporation, below is a checklist of steps to take before you open for business. There are a number of reasons to incorporate your nonprofit, but the biggest may be that you expect your charitable organization to raise profits from activities unrelated to the corporation's stated purpose. Here, you will want to take advantage of tax breaks designed specifically for this situation.
Keep in mind that your nonprofit's start-up requirements might vary from the list below, depending on the specific type of business you are in, and where your business is located.
Hire a Lawyer
Incorporating can be a benefit to your new non-profit organization in the long run -- most notably if your business obtains tax-exempt status -- but the incorporation process can be complicated. To ensure that your new nonprofit complies with your state's legal requirements at all steps in the incorporation process, you may wish to consult an experienced small business attorney today and get a free case review.