What Has To Be Done At The Start Of A Nonprofit?

Law Blog

Starting a nonprofit is an undertaking that requires quite a bit of attention to detail. If you're getting ready to incorporate a nonprofit, here are 5 things you'll need to keep in mind.


Of all the issues that will require you to be judicious, this one is pretty far up there. If you end up with a name that can be challenged by another party in court, you may be in for a lot of extra-legal fees and even renaming issues. Also, your organization's name is a critical part of fundraising, as banks will rely on it to process checks and online payment. It's best to pay for nonprofit startup services to make sure you get the naming part of the job right.

Notably, you'll want to think about how far afield your organization might one day reach. If you're likely to never go national, for example, it's probably not a big deal if your organization's name only conflicts with ones in other states that don't have national profiles. still, you'll want to conduct a complete name search to make sure no one in any of the areas you plan to serve will have the standing to sue you.

Articles of Incorporation

Your nonprofit will have to be properly incorporated. This means drawing up articles of incorporation that will layout your mission, how the organization is set up, and who the officers will be. You should also try to anticipate issues like succession and include processes for handling them in the articles. Also, make sure there will be a process for modifying the rules in an orderly manner as the organization changes over time.

Keeping Records

It's prudent to keep detailed records for the nonprofit, especially records of financials and members. Beyond simply throwing stuff in a filing cabinet, you should also send copies of important documents to an attorney for safekeeping. Likewise, you'll need to come up with a process for recording the meeting minutes.

Naming a Registered Agent

Your nonprofit must have a registered agent who is available to receive documents and answer queries during regular business hours. Many organizations elect to have a lawyer stand in this role.

Publishing Notice of Incorporation

Most states require a notice to be published in at least one newspaper in the state. This has to be a paper that's legally recognized by the state, and your state may require you to publish the notice in multiple newspapers.



16 July 2020

Every Business Owner Needs to Be Well-versed in Law

While I took a few business classes in college, I left early to start my own business. I thought I had the knowledge I needed to become a great business owner and was eager to start my business. Soon, I had a new business that was actually performing pretty well in sales. Unfortunately, I hadn't taken any law courses in college, and I soon realized I made a few mistakes when starting my business that could cause me some legal trouble. Thankfully, a great business lawyer helped me correct my mistakes before I had any legal problems, but I then decided to take those business law courses. I want to help business owners and anyone else who would like to learn more about the law by starting a blog where I will share what I have learned and will continue to learn. I hope I can help you!