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Non-profits and charitable organizations operate differently from traditional for-profit businesses. The business licenses, permits & tax documents needed are different, and there are a separate set of rules for non-profit registration and operation. Before you start a non-profit, read this guide to see what you need to know.

Before Applying for Your Charitable Registration

Take these steps before applying for a non-profit registration.

Step 1: Determine Your Mission

What is the purpose of your non-profit or charity? What do you hope to accomplish? List this out on paper and refer back to it as needed.

Step 2: Decide on Your Business Structure

Most non-profits opt to become a non-profit corporation, or a 501(c)3. There are stipulations for being qualified as such, so make sure your organization meets the requirements.

Step 3: Build a Board of Directors

Aim for a mix of professionals with different backgrounds that will be able to help your non-profit grow.

Step 4: Draft Your ByLaws

These are essentially the rules of how you will govern your non-profit. The non-profit/charitable organization registration requires bylaws.

Step 5: Create Your Long-Term Plan

How will you secure funding? What are your long-term goals? Writing these down can help you figure out how to succeed.

Getting Your Charity Registration

Once you’ve completed the five steps above, you’ll need to register your non-profit with the IRS and get your non-profit/charitable organization registration. You may need other business licenses to operate, so get those approved as well, before you start operations.

To keep your 501(c)3 status, you’ll need to take Board meeting minutes and submit those each year, as well as other actions required by your state.