How to Start a Nonprofit in Kansas


If you want to start a nonprofit organization in Kansas, there are a few steps you’ll need to take. The first step is to do some research on nonprofits in your state and figure out whether or not it’s the right time for your idea. If so, then you can move forward with filing the necessary paperwork with the secretary of state and applying for tax-exempt status. To learn more about how this process works, read on!

Do Your Research

  • The first step to starting a nonprofit organization is to know what you’re getting into. Before you begin, do your research and talk to other nonprofits that have been in business for a while. Get advice from people who have started nonprofits before, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Clearly Define Your Mission

The first step is to determine the purpose of your organization. What are you trying to accomplish? How will you go about doing this? What is the mission of your organization? You should be able to answer these questions before deciding on a name for yourself and making any other major decisions about how you want to proceed.

Choose a Name

Now that you’ve chosen a mission and have identified your target audience, it’s time to choose a name for your nonprofit. Your nonprofit will be called whatever you decide on in this step, so be sure to take some time with this decision.

  • Choose a Name: The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of organizations like yours? Chances are it’s not “The Association for the Advancement of Nonprofit Organizations” or “The Society for the Advancement of Nonprofit Organizations.” You want something short, easy to remember and pronounce, yet professional sounding.
  • Check Name Availability: Before you settle on anything, go ahead and check if there are any restrictions on using certain words or phrases as part of your organization’s name in Kansas (or whichever state where they’re registered). If there are restrictions on certain words or phrases from being used by nonprofits—such as “charity,” “foundation,” etc.—you may need to adjust how you want people associated with your nonprofit should identify themselves when speaking about what they do for work outside the office walls (e.g., employees identifying themselves as working at XYZ Foundation instead).

File the Articles of Incorporation

Next, you need to file the articles of incorporation. The articles must be signed by each incorporator. The purpose and duration of your corporation must also be stated in these documents, along with the names and addresses of your incorporators.

Apply for Tax-Exempt Status

If you want to start a nonprofit, the first thing you’ll need to do is apply for tax-exempt status. Once your application is submitted, approval can take anywhere from a few months to years—it depends on how busy they are at any given time. The IRS will review your application and make a decision based on whether or not you meet all of their requirements (which are listed below). They may ask for additional information or refer it for an audit if they find something suspicious during their review process. If approved, there may be a fee associated with getting this approval, but that varies by organization type.

Create Bylaws

Your bylaws are the basic rules that govern your nonprofit organization. While they may be called something else in your state, they are essentially the same thing as corporate bylaws. They should include information such as:

  • The name of your organization and its purpose
  • The location where you will hold meetings, if applicable
  • The number of directors/members on your board and how often they meet, if applicable

Hold Your First Board of Directors Meeting

A board of directors is the most important part of your organization. The board is made up of people who are willing to give their time and expertise to help you run the nonprofit. They will meet regularly to discuss the direction of your organization, make decisions about how it will operate, and provide guidance on important issues.

The board meeting should be held after filing for 501(c)(3) status but before opening for business. At this meeting:

  • Discuss what kind of nonprofit you want to form and how it will operate (e.g., if there are specific areas or populations that need support).
  • Decide on a name for your nonprofit (this cannot be changed once filed with state officials). You can check with other non-profits in the Kansas City area to see if they have similar names before filing with state officials.

Files Annual Report Each Year

Each year, you must file an annual report. The report is due by May 1, and it should be filed electronically.

The annual report must include the total assets and liabilities as of December 31 of the preceding year; the organization’s mission statement; whether any changes were made in board membership since the last filing; whether any changes were made in officers or employees since the last filing; how long your nonprofit has been in existence; and any additional information required for non-profit organizations that receive more than half their support from government grants or contracts or from activities related to lobbying.

If your organization will operate in Kansas and you want it to be recognized as a nonprofit, you must file the correct formation papers.

If you want your organization to be recognized as a nonprofit organization in Kansas, you must file the correct formation papers. The following information will help guide you through this process:

  • Formation papers are filed with the secretary of state. These include articles of incorporation, bylaws and annual report.
  • Formation papers are filed with the IRS. These include applications for tax exemption and annual report


The process of starting a nonprofit in Kansas may seem daunting, but with the right guidance, you can get the job done. Remember that there are many benefits to forming a nonprofit organization, including tax-exempt status and increased credibility among potential donors. If your goal is to bring about positive change in your community by providing valuable services or raising awareness on an important issue, then consider forming a nonprofit today!

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