One sees it spelled every which way: 501 c 3, 501(c)3, 501c3, 501c(3), 501c, 501(c3). When it comes to type it in, the brain may freeze up. So here is what I suggest. Put it in auto correct so that when you type 501the rest comes up automatically. And how should it come up?
The correct spelling is 501(c)(3).
Choosing a name for a new nonprofit organization is one of the most important decisions your Board will make. Ideally, the name will indicate what the organization does, and it will be simple enough for people to remember.
There are several administrative steps that should be taken:
1. Google the name to see what other organizations might have the same or similar name.
2. Before you incorporate as a nonprofit, check with the secretary of state in your state to see if anyone has taken that name already. If they have, you won’t be able to use it. Be sure to ask if the name has been either taken or reserved. Some states allow people to reserve a name even if they are not using it.
Third, go to the main IRS web site and search for 501(c)(3) organizations with your name or similar names. The IRS allows nonprofit organizations to have the same name, but you wouldn’t want to confuse your organization with other organizations with the same name.
It is important for a nonprofit to have an effective mission statement. The mission statement in the application to the IRS for 501(c)(3) status should include a clear statement of over-all purpose and a list of the organization’s primary activities. In this way, the IRS will immediately see what the organization stands for and does.
Your mission statement can be revised as time goes on, to suit the context. For instance, you might use a short one about general purpose for display ads, brochures and other promotional materials. You might want a longer, more detailed one for grant proposals and annual reports.
Forming a nonprofit is a more complex process than most people realize. One must obtain an Employer Identification Number, write a mission statement, Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Conflict of Interest policies, and budgets for three years. Many people try to do it on their own and gets discouraged. They then turn to a professional, who sometimes has to re-do what the client has done so far.
I offer a free phone consultation and will discuss with you whether a nonprofit is the way for you to go, and whether you will qualify as a nonprofit. We can also discuss how long each step takes and the costs.
If you are planning on starting a non profit business, there are many things you need to address ahead of time.
I am a consultant with thirty years of experience in the nonprofit field who specializes in helping people successfully start 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. To get started, take the five-question survey on this page.
I will respond within 24 hours with an assessment of your readiness to start a nonprofit, a breakdown of the costs, an opinion about whether your idea qualifies as a 501(c)(3), and a copy of my free Ebook.
Using information that you give me about your mission, goals and values, I handle every step of the process. I prepare all of your documents and I also advise you on ways to structure your new organization.