Beginner’s checklist for starting a nonprofit organization in the U.S.A

Beginning note:

This 5 step virtual tour cum beginner’s checklist should get you started with the process of forming a nonprofit organization in the U.S.A and will hardly take 5 minutes to read through and answer.

The questions in each section are followed by a brief explanation of what it stands for and the rationale behind putting up the question to you.

We therefore advise you to carefully read the sections underneath the question, irrespective of the answers that you choose for each section.

Let’s get started

Step 1 of 5

Deciding the purpose

Select the best option that describes your situation

I have not yet decided the purpose. I just want to start a nonprofit organization.

I have a specific issue that I want to address by starting a nonprofit organization.

Side note

Having a well defined purpose is a legal requirement for starting nonprofit organization in most of the states of America.

A very few states allow organizations to mention general purposes in their organizing documents. Most of the states ask for ‘ specific purposes’ for which the organization is being formed.

Internal Revenue Service does not mandate the need for a specific purpose but it still encourages organizations to establish and regularly review their purpose statement. An organization with a clearly articulated purpose  statement is considered favorably by the IRS at the time of assessment for granting of tax exempt recognition to organizations.

Articulating the purpose

The purpose of organizations is articulated in the ‘ Mission Statement’ of the organization.

Recommended read – 3 steps to writing mission statement.

So if you have not yet decided the purpose or if you have decided the purpose but have not yet articulated the mission statement, you must do it as early as possible and definitely before you set out to prepare the organizing document for the organization.

Proceed to step 2 of 5