top of page

Dear Olga: Starting a Nonprofit

Dear Olga,

I don't have the best credit, but I'd like to start a nonprofit. How should I go about this?

Thank you,



Dear WantToHelp,

Having credit score issues is never fun and if you're interesting in improving your credit score, check out my "Dear Olga" post from last week with tips how to improve your credit score.

The good news from the research I've done, I don't see anything that says your credit score will impact your ability to start a nonprofit!

Basic requirements needed to start a nonprofit

  • File articles of incorporation (also called "certificate of incorporation" in some states). You can find each state's requirements for getting the filing started here.

  • File for tax-exemption status with the IRS. This step requires you filing for a Federal Tax Identification Number and filing Form 1023 with the IRS.

  • Once you have completed all of the paperwork, you can go ahead with your business but there are going to be ongoing filing requirements that you will need to keep up with to stay compliant every year. These requirements vary state by state.

I've also found this handy infographic that summarizes the steps below that may give you some insight of things that aren't technically required to start a nonprofit but are good to know.

My biggest piece of advice as you embark on your journey, it's okay not to know everything about state regulation and just because you want to start this nonprofit it doesn't you have to become a lawyer overnight! I've learned it's best not to pretend to know everything and instead let experts help you do it correctly the first time around.

Best of luck!


Infographic by Cullinane Law Group


If you have a money question, submit it here for a chance to be featured in the "Dear Olga" column!

12 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page