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How to Start a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit in the USA  

Form1023 .Org


If you have a thriving business and feel motivated to give back to the community, you may want to consider starting a separate nonprofit organization. A nonprofit organization is any legal entity which has been incorporated under the law of its jurisdiction for purposes other than making profits for its owners or shareholders.


A 501(c) organization is a nonprofit organization in the federal law of the United States according to Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. § 501(c)) and includes 29 types of nonprofit organizations exempt from some federal income taxes. Section 501(c)(3) is the portion of the US Internal Revenue Code that allows for federal tax exemption of nonprofit organizations that are considered public charities, private foundations or private operating foundations. Purposes of 501(c)(3) organizations must include one or more of the following:


  • relief of the poor, the distressed, or the underprivileged;

  • advancement of religion;

  • advancement of education or science;

  • erecting or maintaining public buildings, monuments, or works;

  • lessening the burdens of government;

  • lessening neighborhood tensions;

  • eliminating prejudice and discrimination;

  • defending human and civil rights secured by law; and

  • combating community deterioration and juvenile delinquency.

The process for applying for 501(c)(3) status may seem overwhelming. However, another nonprofit, Form1023.org, can help. It provides the instructions along with the forms and templates that you will need. The downloads are free, but a $35 donation would be appreciated. For more information, go to https://form1023.org

Compete For Grants

A distinctive provision of 501(c)(3) organization is that donations to it are tax exempt for the donors. It can also receive grants from other 501(c)(3)’s. Competition for grants is a multibillion-dollar-a-year business.

The University of Northern Colorado has developed “A Guide to Proposal Planning and Writing” for grant seekers. You can download a copy at https://www.unco.edu/research/pdf/grant-writing-websites-docs/developing-and-writing-proposals/miner.pdf



Also, the Grantsmanship Center, located in Los Angeles, CA, offers in-person and online training for grant seekers. For information on the 5 day Grantsmanship Course, visit https://www.tgci.com/training/grantsmanship-training-program-5-day.



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Last modified: May 01, 2024  .