What Are the Main Steps to Starting a Non-Profit?

Did you know the U.S. is home to over 1.8 million non-profits? Even more impressive is that they contributed $1.5 trillion to the U.S. economy in the 4th quarter of 2022. That’s despite these organizations not being in the business of making money.

Instead, the best non-profits exist to better their community. They can do so with the help and support of other organizations, donations, and grants.

If you’d also like to serve your community, consider starting a non-profit. We’ll tell you how below, so read on.

Conduct a Feasibility Study

A feasibility study can help determine how viable a non-profit is. It involves interviews with key stakeholders to gather unbiased information and feedback.

With such a study, a non-profit can assess if its goals are achievable and realistic. It also gives founders an idea of the individuals or parties likely to support them. Moreover, it allows for the creation of early project support and awareness.

That makes a feasibility study necessary before launching your project to the public. You can find a more in-depth guide about these studies at

Incorporate Your Non-Profit Organization

State laws and regulations surrounding non-profit organizations vary from state to state. Your state association of non-profits can provide you with state-specific guidance. You can also talk to a local business lawyer and a CPA to help distinguish the types of non-profits.

At the very least, incorporating your organization requires registering its intended name. Choose something unique because no two non-profits can have the same name.

After registration, you must file articles of incorporation. These formal documents request your state to recognize your organization as a business.

Apply for Your Organization’s Tax-Exempt Status

After incorporation, you can now file for tax-exempt status. The exact process depends on the type of non-profit organization you’ve incorporated. Again, a lawyer and a CPA in your state can help you complete these steps.

Open the Right Bank Account

As of 2022, the U.S. had 4,135 federally (FDIC) insured commercial banks. They also boast over 71,000 branches nationwide.

With so many options, how do you choose the right one for your organization?

First, the bank’s charges should be minimal, as your organization doesn’t earn profits. For instance, it should have little to no fees for maintenance and out-of-network ATM use.

It also pays to open high-yield savings accounts. This way, your organization’s funds can earn more from interest.

Promote Your Organization Online

Today, over 5 billion people worldwide use the Internet. Many of these folks rely on the web for information, including researching businesses. That’s a good enough reason to spread the good news about your non-profit online.

Start by building a responsive, aesthetic, and informative website. Then, link it with your organization’s social media accounts.

Use all those platforms to tell the story of your non-profit and gain more supporters along the way.

Follow These Steps When Starting a Non-Profit

Starting a non-profit is one of the best ways to give back to and better your community. However, your organization’s cause must be viable for this to happen. This is why you need a thorough feasibility study before incorporating your organization.

If the study reveals your idea is feasible, that’s the time you can push through with your cause.

Did you like this article? If so, check out more of our site for other informative guides like this!


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