How to Start a Nonprofit in Idaho


Idaho is the 14th most populous state in the United States. It’s also a great place to start a nonprofit! With its vast natural resources and diverse population, Idaho has an opportunity to do good in many ways. Whether you’re looking to support an important cause that isn’t getting attention from other organizations or hoping to bring your passion for animals into the spotlight. It all starts with an idea and some paperwork. In this blog post, we’ll go over all of the steps necessary to start a nonprofit in Idaho. From coming up with your idea to file tax forms on time (and everything in between). So grab some coffee and get ready for some tips on how you can take that idea you have and turn it into reality!

The Need

It’s important to understand the problem you’re trying to solve, and the people you’re trying to help. The organization’s mission should clearly describe what it intends to do, as well as why this problem is important. It may also be helpful to include how long the problem has existed and what steps have been taken in the past to address it. For example:

  • Our mission is “to provide free meals for hungry families on weekends and Mondays through Thursdays from 4-6 pm at our location on Main Street in downtown Boise.”
  • Why we exist: “In Idaho, one-in-five children live in food insecure homes.”
  • How long this has been going on: “For 15 years!”

The Idea

  • What is the problem you are trying to solve?
  • How does your idea help solve the problem?
  • What is the solution?
  • How will you know if you are successful?
  • How will you measure success?

The Plan

The planning stage is an important part of starting a nonprofit, but it’s also one that many new nonprofits neglect. The good news is that you don’t have to be an expert planner to get started with your plan.

You’ll want three things in your plan: goals, strategies, and resources. These elements are interconnected; they will inform each other throughout the process of developing and implementing your plan.

The Board

The board of directors is responsible for overseeing the organization and its activities. The board should be composed of people with experience and knowledge in fundraising, leadership, management, and other relevant areas that might be helpful to the nonprofit’s mission.

Board members are also expected to be passionate about the cause you’re working toward. If you want to start a nonprofit in Idaho but don’t know anyone who’s interested in donating their time to help you get started, then it may be wise to consider another charitable cause instead of starting your own non-profit organization at this time.

The Paperwork

If you’ve already decided that your nonprofit is for-profit, you will need:

  • A copy of your organization’s articles of incorporation. This is the document that sets out the purpose and structure of your organization.
  • Copies of any documents that show what you’ll be doing with funds raised by donations (don’t forget!). If you’re raising money for a specific project or cause, then you’ll need proof that it’s been agreed upon by both parties involved.

Getting Funded

Grants are often thought of as a form of donation, but they’re actually quite different. A grant is a financial award given by an individual or organization to support a specific project or program. It’s usually not an outright gift, but requires some work on your end in order to qualify for it—typically filling out paperwork, submitting a proposal, etc. You’ll want to start your search for grants by looking at organizations that share your mission and values and seeing if they have any available funding opportunities listed on their website or elsewhere online.

Some of the best places to find grants include:

  • The SBA’s Business Plan Competition Grant Program—the SCORE Small Business Development Centers provide mentoring services for businesses seeking this type of support from the federal government;
  • The Idaho Community Foundation—this nonprofit solicits funds from corporations and other private sources in order to distribute them as unrestricted grants benefiting nonprofits across the state;
  • The Idaho Department of Commerce—if you’re seeking business assistance such as loans or tax credits through this government agency then apply now!


Now that you know what it takes to start a nonprofit in Idaho, the next step is to get started. The first thing you need to do is choose your nonprofit’s name. When choosing a name, make sure it’s something that will attract potential donors and volunteers. If possible, try to include words like “community” or “help.” You can also use adjectives such as “youthful,” “innovative,” and “positive.” Whatever word or combination of words you choose should be easy for people who have never heard of your organization before to recognize as an indication of its purpose and mission.


It’s never too early to start your nonprofit. We hope this guide has given you some insight into what it takes to start a nonprofit in Idaho, and that you are now ready to begin planning. Remember, the best way to get started is by getting help! If you need any assistance with creating your organization or finding funding sources, contact us today.

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