Ten Steps to Start a Non-Profit

I recently had the opportunity to take over the Charlotte-based Carolina Women in Tech and Charlotte Women in Tech networking groups.  While both were already established, there had not been a good strategy or forward thinking plan.   I asked for some help, and our group came up with the idea of establishing the parent group, Carolina Women in Tech, as a non-profit 501(3)c.  Our goal is to help women explore opportunities in the tech field by giving grants and scholarships and even travel funds to go to the conference that could change their careers!

While this all sounds amazing, I had to figure out how to set up a non-profit and fast.  After some digging, researching and guidance, I stumbled upon an amazing checklist of steps that need to be completed to achieve 501(3)c status.  I am better with a list so this not only helped me get the ball rolling but also allowed me to complete it quickly!

For those of you who are considering starting a 501(c)(3), here are the 10 steps I took to create ours:

STEP 1) SECURE YOUR NONPROFIT NAME

STEP 2) APPOINT A REGISTERED AGENT

STEP 3) SELECT INCORPORATORS & DIRECTORS

STEP 4) DRAFT NONPROFIT BYLAWS

STEP 5) FILE ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION

STEP 6) START A CORPORATE RECORDS BOOK

STEP 7) CONDUCT INITIAL MEETING

STEP 8) GET AN EIN

STEP 9) HANDLE LICENSING & EXEMPTIONS

STEP 10) SET UP A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT

To be completely transparent, I did not complete these steps in order from one to ten.  But, I did go through the list to complete all the items.  Most of the items on the list required a quick google search to know what was required.  For example, steps one and two can be completed by doing a search on your local Secretary of State website, and the person that registers the name can become the registered agent.   Step four was the most challenging because we were not yet sure what we wanted the bylaws to contain.  So, we just used generic ones until we need to amend them.  We used the 1023 EZ form for our filing.  I would highly recommend trying to qualify to use that.  The rest is pretty straightforward, but I would love to answer any questions that you may have about completing these steps.

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