How to Start a 501c3 Non-Profit Organization

Starting a legitimate 501c3 organization is a very involved process. Here are the basic steps. If you need more detailed information, please contact us with any questions you might have about how we can help.

Begin by choosing a name and doing a search to see if the name is already being used. This not a simple Google search, but you need to utilize a professional service. This will help you avoid needing to make changes later.

Once you have a name, go ahead and open a bank account. You will need that information for all the paperwork you will be filing. You can now apply for your Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Essential documents you will need to create include Articles of Incorporation, Organization By-Laws, Policies / Procedures Manual and Organizational Minutes.

Next, file Form 1023 with the IRS within 27 months after the end of the end of the month in which you were legally formed (Filed Certificate of Incorporation).

The next step is to file a 990 EZ tax return (must file on time – no extension because it will delay your Guide Star Recognition and delay Form 1023 filing).

File a 512E tax return with State of Oklahoma (Do NOT check Part III 2) along with a Narrative Description of Activities (Form 1023 Part IV). Information must correspond with provided financial information. Attach documents supporting the details of the narrative:

  • Paper copy of your website
  • Flyers
  • Invitations
  • Newspaper articles
  • Proof of work accomplished with other Nonprofit organizations

Now you are ready to register as a Charitable Organization with your State. This is a form you file with your Secretary of State and is renewed annually.