The first step to starting a nonprofit organization is simple: you must incorporate! You must form a nonprofit corporation.
Starting a corporation, whether for-profit or nonprofit, may seem like a daunting task. But the actual paperwork is quite simple. What comes after the formation of the corporation is what is most daunting.
To form a nonprofit corporation, one must draft articles of incorporation and submit them to the Indiana Secretary of State. The Secretary of State will then review the document, and if it meets with approval, a nonprofit corporation will be formed.
While this process is simple and can be done online, it is important that an attorney prepare the articles of incorporation because of the challenges that may come later. If the nonprofit corporation will seek tax exempt status from the IRS, which is almost always the case, the articles of incorporation will need to have particular language regarding the purposes of the corporation and the distribution of assets upon dissolution of the corporation. If the articles of incorporation do not contain this particular language, the IRS will likely not grant tax exempt status.