How to Start a Nonprofit in Alaska


Starting a nonprofit in Alaska can be a great way to make an impact on your community and help others. The first thing you’ll need to do is choose a name for your organization and then write up some articles of incorporation. You can also apply for an EIN number and create bylaws to ensure everything runs smoothly. Once you’ve completed these steps, it’s time to submit the paperwork to the state of Alaska so they can make sure it’s all legit.

Choose a Name for your Nonprofit

When choosing a name, it’s important to keep in mind that the name of your organization should be easy to remember and spell. It also shouldn’t be too long or short. You want it to be short enough that people don’t feel intimidated by it, but long enough so they don’t forget what you do after reading your name once or twice. When selecting a nonprofit name, use common sense: avoid names that sound similar to others in the industry or maybe confusingly similar (like “Cats R Us” versus “Cat Rescue”).

Write up a Formation Document

You’ll need a nonprofit formation document to start your organization. This document is a legal agreement between the members of your board of directors and the organization itself, outlining how the nonprofit will be operated. It should include:

  • Your mission statement
  • The name of the organization (and what it’s called in other languages)
  • The purpose of your nonprofit, including any special goals or programs you want to accomplish
  • A list of all current members of your board, plus their contact information and bios

Filing Articles of Incorporation

What is the purpose of filing articles of incorporation? You may be wondering why a nonprofit would need to file documents with a state agency before it can start doing its work. The answer is simple. It helps protect you and your organization from liability. If an attorney or other professional asks for proof that you are a legitimate entity, then this document will serve as proof that you are indeed recognized by the state as an official non-profit organization. The process for filing articles of incorporation varies from state to state, but here’s how it works in Alaska:

  • Contact your local municipal clerk’s office for more information about starting a non-profit in your area
  • Complete either Form 1023 (for tax exemption) or Form 1024 (for tax-deductible donations). These forms are available online at the IRS website; just click on “Forms & Publications” at left navigation bar, then search under the keyword “Nonprofits.”
  • Mail both completed forms along with a $400 fee payment made payable out to U.S. Treasury Department.

Creating Bylaws

Bylaws are the rules and regulations of your organization. They’re what keep your nonprofit functioning smoothly, legally, and in line with its mission. If you’re not sure what to include in bylaws, look around at similar nonprofits’ documents for guidance—you can also ask an attorney to help write them.

Some examples of good content for bylaws:

  • Who can be a board member? What are their responsibilities? How long do they serve?
  • How often will meetings be held? Who should attend them (and who shouldn’t)? How long does each meeting last? Who makes decisions about the direction of the organization during these meetings? What happens if a decision isn’t made on time—will it be put off until next month’s meeting or decided by a majority vote from members who were present at this month’s meeting?
  • How much money does each board member get paid annually for their service on the board (if anything)?

Apply for an EIN Number

When you’re ready to apply for an EIN number, you’ll need to download and print the application from Fill out all of the fields on the form using your business’s official name, address, and phone number. You’ll also need to provide information about yourself as well as a copy of your organization’s articles of incorporation or registration papers (depending on whether you are incorporated or unincorporated).

Include any other information requested by the IRS on your application forms, such as references who have previously worked with your organization (if applicable) and its financial status (if it has been in operation for more than one year). Once everything is complete, sign and date it before sending it off with payment via mail or fax directly into their office. If mailing via snail mail, send it by certified mail with the return receipt requested so that you will be able to prove when they received it should any questions arise later down the road.


Starting a nonprofit in Alaska has never been easier. The process is straightforward and there are resources available to help you along the way. If you’re looking to make a difference in your community, now is the time!

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