Start a Nonprofit

Starting a nonprofit organization is a complex and time-consuming endeavor. A nonprofit is a business and, just like a for-profit, it requires a collection of resources ranging from time and effort to financial support. While mission is always the most important element of a successful nonprofit, founders must also focus on business planning and legal compliance.

Before you start your own nonprofit, it is essential to understand if there are organizations in your community already providing the services and programming you want to deliver. Research potential sources of revenue for your program and determine if other members of the community will be supportive of your efforts (these could be future board members). We strongly encourage you to develop a business plan in advance of starting your nonprofit – our consulting team can help.

In order for your organization to be treated as tax-exempt for federal income tax purposes, and to receive tax-deductible contributions, it must receive a determination about its status from the IRS. To do this, you must file Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The 1023 Application is complicated – the IRS estimates that it takes a novice 100+ hours to complete. A successful application is only the first step to achieving and maintaining tax exemption and federal and state legal compliance.

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A-Z resource on nonprofit best practices

Advocating for the interests of families and youth

Promoting a thriving and effective nonprofit sector

Nonpartisan initiative promoting investment in MD’s communities