Does a nonprofit have to be 501(c)(3)? We are incorporating and filing/drafting by-laws. Can the 501(c)(3) portion wait if we don't take in any funds and can give charitable contribution receipts by an umbrella org? Can we still call ourselves a nonprofit until we get 501(c)(3) status?
There is a lot of confusion in this question. “ Nonprofit” does not equate to charitable. There are a lot of nonprofit organizations that are not 501(c)(3) charities, and some are not even tax-exempt. (See Ready Reference Page: “What Do We Mean When We Say Nonprofit”)
If you intend to apply for 501(c)(3) charity recognition ultimately, you probably want to be sure that your articles of incorporation include the language required to qualify for the status. (See Ready Reference Page: “Articles of Incorporation Establish Basic Form of Nonprofit Corporations”) If you don’t have the language in the original articles, you will still be a nonprofit, but will have to amend the articles before you can qualify for charitable status.
If you plan to use a fiscal sponsor as a “conduit” organization, the sponsor will undoubtedly want you to qualify for charitable status even if you haven’t been recognized. (See “Fiscal Sponsorship: 6 Ways to Do It Right” in our bookstore)
State Charitable Solicitation Statutes: Everything You Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask
Charities that seek contributions nationally must typically register in 39 states and the District of Columbia before starting to solicit. Furthermore, for-profit fundraisers are also required to register and file their contracts and other documentation with many states. Since many states are increasing their enforcement efforts to ensure that charities and fundraisers are complying with initial and annual registration requirements, it's important that charities and fundraisers abide by these statutes.
Program materials include an extensive review of the statutes and their provisions, plus a copy of the Uniform Registration Statement for multi-state filings. Purchasers will receive an e-mail receipt that includes a link that will take them to the product download. The download is a pdf file. Learn More
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