How to Start a Nonprofit in Alabama


Nonprofit organizations serve a variety of purposes, including charitable, religious, educational, scientific, and literary. Nonprofits can be incorporated as corporations or unincorporated associations in Alabama. In this article, we will discuss the steps you should take to start a Nonprofit in Alabama.

Choosing a Name for Your Alabama Nonprofit

Choosing a name is one of the first steps in starting your nonprofit. It’s important to choose a name that reflects your mission, but it should also be easy to spell and remember. You should also avoid names that are too long or too generic, as these do not convey much information about what you do or who you help.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Choose something short and sweet—but not too short!
  • Make sure it doesn’t sound like any other organization in the state (and make sure that none of those organizations seem to be doing anything similar to what you plan on doing).

Creating a Board of Directors

A board of directors is the governing body of a nonprofit. As such, it provides oversight over all aspects of the organization and its mission to ensure that it continues to fulfill its goals in a manner consistent with its vision. The actual tasks performed by these volunteers are quite diverse:

  • They develop and approve policies for the organization.
  • They oversee administration, finances, and operations (including hiring managers).
  • They can also take on special projects as needed.

Applying for Tax-Exempt Status

After you’ve taken care of the legal and organizational aspects of your nonprofit, it’s time to apply for federal tax-exempt status.

In order to apply for tax exemption, your organization needs to be approved by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization if it is going to receive donations from other people or organizations. You can do this by filling out Form 1024 and mailing it in along with a copy of your articles of incorporation or other founding documents (such as an operating agreement). Once you submit everything, there is no timeline on when they will get back to you—it may take several months—but don’t worry! You’ll know within 120 days whether or not they have approved your application.

If they deny your application like mine was denied because there were too many questions left unanswered then you should appeal their decision within 60 days by filing an appeal letter explaining why their decision was made incorrectly so that another person at IRS will review both applications once again before issuing any final decisions about which ones should receive tax exemptions based on their criteria.

Filing the Right Documents

If you want to start a nonprofit in Alabama, the first step is to file documents with the Alabama Secretary of State. The most important document is your Articles of Incorporation (AOI). This should be filed within 60 days of incorporation and includes information about your nonprofit’s name and address, its purpose, its members and officers, and details about how it will be managed.

After filing your AOI, you’ll receive an acknowledgment certificate from the Secretary of State’s office that explains how long it will take for them to process your application. It usually takes two weeks or less for nonprofits that meet all requirements. However, if there are any issues with your filing (e.g., incorrect forms or incomplete disclosures), then this can prolong processing time considerably longer than expected (upwards of six months).

Create Bylaws

Once you have a board in place, the next step is to write bylaws. Bylaws are a set of rules that govern the operations of an organization, including how it will be run and governed.

Bylaws are sometimes referred to as “articles” or “rules” depending on your state. The term “bylaw” is used for general purposes here because it’s generally easier to find information about nonprofits in Alabama using this terminology.

While there are many ways to create bylaws, one common approach is to start with an example set of bylaws provided by your state’s Secretary of State office or nonprofit association. You can then customize these templates based on the type of organization you’re forming and other considerations outlined below. Once drafted, most states require that the formal adoption process take place at an official meeting called a board meeting or annual meeting.

Once adopted, bylaws should be filed with both the state and federal governments so that they’re legally binding against members who want access to tax benefits like deductions for charitable contributions made through donations given directly through 501(c)(3) organizations like yours


Having the right documents will help your nonprofit run smoothly. The wrong documents, on the other hand, can lead to disaster.

The Right Documents:

  • A board of directors that meets regularly and has a quorum
  • An annual report (or equivalent) published in a timely manner that includes financials and performance metrics
  • Annual meeting minutes that are kept up-to-date and accessible by all members


Nonprofit organizations are a cornerstone of American life. From local churches to national charities, these organizations serve their communities and make life better for everyone. By following the steps in this article, you can start a nonprofit in Alabama that will last for years to come.

Start your Trademark

Register Your Trademark & Get The Delivery of your USPTO Serial No. In 24 Hours

Related Posts

How to Start a Business in Alabama
How to Start a Business in Alabama
How to Start a Nonprofit in Wyoming
How to Start a Nonprofit in Wisconsin
How to Start a Nonprofit in West Virginia

USPTO Trademark Filing in Just $49

Register Your Trademark with USPTO Today & Get Serial No. in 24 Hours