Starting a nonprofit organization in New York is similar to other types of business formation. It involves a lot of paperwork, organization and close attention to detail.
The first part of any business formation process is often naming the organization. Choose a name that not only represents your brand and mission but also follows the rules of New York State. Some of these rules include words you can’t use, like “doctor” or “school,” and words you should use, like “incorporated” or “company.”
Getting others involved
You’ll need to choose a registered agent with an address in your state. This person will receive legal paperwork on behalf of your organization.
You’ll also need to choose your board members and officers. These people will be central to your nonprofit and carry important responsibilities. Your organization will need at least three directors.
The state requires you to file Form DOS 1511 to become a legal nonprofit corporation. There is a $75 filing fee when you submit this form.
You’ll then need to draft two essential documents for your organization: bylaws and a conflict of interest policy. Your bylaws will include guidelines for how your organization works. Your conflict of interest policy will be another set of rules focusing on the organization’s mission. This policy will serve as a guide for making decisions within your nonprofit. The policy ensures all decisions are best for the long-term goals and standards of the organization.
Your nonprofit will then need an employment identification number (EIN). This will be how the IRS identifies your nonprofit when you file taxes. Once you have your EIN, you can register your nonprofit for state tax accounts. If your nonprofit operates in New York City, you must also register tax accounts within the city.
Opening important accounts
Once you have your EIN, you can open a nonprofit bank account and apply for insurance. You will specifically want to open a bank account intended for nonprofit organizations known as a 501(c)(3) bank account. This account will create an organized way for you to accept donations, pay employees and maintain an appropriate record of all financial transactions.
Your nonprofit organization insurance is just like business insurance. It helps protect your organization from accidents or other unexpected occurrences.
Starting a nonprofit organization is an exciting opportunity involving much paperwork. Staying organized, taking it one step at a time and getting help from others can help you stay on track toward your goals and form your nonprofit organization.