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How to Start a Nonprofit | Step 3: State Forms

The National Council of Nonprofits does not offer legal assistance or advice in connection with creating new nonprofit organizations. We recommend you look to resources such as those available from LawforChange, and connect with your local State Association of nonprofits for state-specific resources.

Laws and regulations on starting a nonprofit organization vary from state to state. Below, we have provided a very general overview. First we recommend that you review information available from your state charity official so that you will be aware what is required in your state. Regulations differ greatly from state to state, so this listing should not be considered comprehensive or a substitute for competent legal counsel.

  • Reserve/register intended name
  • File Articles of Incorporation - Some states require supplemental information, such as:
    • Certificate of Disclosure
    • Proof of Corporate Name
    • Filing fees - Be sure to follow the instructions on the forms and include these if applicable.
  • Extra steps, depending on state:
    • In many states you must publish your of articles of incorporation a certain number of times in a local newspaper, then file proof of publication with a state agency.
  • Samples to consider:

    Resources for state forms and filing requirements (Hurwit & Associates)