How to Start a Nonprofit Organization

How do I start a nonprofit organization?

I hear this question often and I credit anyone who wants to take on the great responsibility of starting a nonprofit and giving back to community.

First and foremost, the word “nonprofit” encompasses many ideas. When we say that we want to start a “nonprofit” in Oregon, what we mean is that we are forming an “Oregon Nonprofit Domestic Corporation.

What? I’m forming a corporation?

Oregon Nonprofit Corporation Handbook.

Oregon Nonprofit Corporation handbook

“Yes.”  Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) Chapter 65 dictates the rules for starting a nonprofit corporation. In Oregon, the only type of business entity that can be a nonprofit are corporations. Some states allow nonprofit activities under the business entity structure of an LLC. Oregon does not. So, before you even start, consider that you will be entering an area of law that is well-traveled but that also has strict legal requirements.

Are there different types of Nonprofit Corporations? 

“Yes.” In Oregon there are three types of nonprofit corporations: mutual benefit, religious, and public benefit. So now, if you are looking to create a nonprofit the question you must ask yourself is, “for whom is my business activity to benefit“? I will address what most people I’ve met are inquiring about, the public benefit nonprofit domestic corporation. This is what most of think of when we think about a nonprofit. It’s a charity. It is the primary type of nonprofit that does public good and for whose donors can get a tax deduction for their donation.

But not so fast. Your charitable Oregon Nonprofit Business Corporation must apply to the IRS in order to offer tax-deduction receipts to your donors. 

The information contained in this blog is the first 2 minutes of material of a presentation I am hosting on May 4th.

The format will be one hour panel discussion followed by one hour Q and A. It’s free an open to the public. My colleagues and I are doing this because we want to lower the barrier for people to meet and learn from lawyers experienced in nonprofit law. We want to empower you to go out and fulfill your dreams of giving back to your community.

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