How to Start a Nonprofit in Mississippi


Whether you’re a seasoned nonprofit professional or a newbie, starting a nonprofit can seem like a daunting task. While there are many steps involved in starting your own charity, it’s important to know that the journey is rewarding and the process is quite simple if you know what to do. Below is an overview of the steps needed for creating your own non-profit organization in Mississippi:

Choose a distinct and memorable name for your nonprofit.

Choosing a name for your nonprofit is one of the first things you will do when starting up. It’s important that you choose a distinct and memorable name that is easy to pronounce, spell, and not too long or too short. Your organization’s name should also be unique so as not to be confused with other organizations (e.g., if there was already a nonprofit called “The National Organization for Handicapped Children”).

A good rule of thumb is to brainstorm names using words that have positive connotations and avoid those with negative ones; for example, using words like “hope”, “blessing”, etc., instead of curse words like “pain” or “suffering”.

Obtain federal and state tax-exempt status.

The next step is to obtain federal and state tax-exempt status. In order for your organization to be exempt from paying taxes, you must first apply for 501(c)3 status. This status will allow donors to deduct contributions made to your organization from their taxable income (if they itemize). To apply for 501(c)3 status, fill out Form 1023 and submit it along with the required filing fee that you will need to pay annually.

After receiving approval, you can then proceed with applying for a Mississippi sales tax exemption certificate. Keep in mind that this process can take up to several months—and if denied at any point during this time period, there are also certain requirements that must be met before reapplying again later on down the road due to previous rejections:

  • If denied by one agency but approved by another within 30 days after submitting your initial application forms – You’ll need proof showing why it was denied previously (such as legal problems like having outstanding debt owed back taxes); then follow up immediately after receiving notice about being rejected so officials can reconsider granting its request before making changes. If rejected twice – You’ll have no choice but wait until five years pass before trying again; however, this time period may end sooner depending on various factors such as whether there’s been any change within those five years since first applying etc…

Obtain permits and licenses.

You need to obtain permits and licenses before you can open your doors. These include:

  • Business License
  • Sales tax license
  • Liquor license

Write your articles of incorporation.

The next step is to write the articles of incorporation. The articles are a legal document that establishes your nonprofit as a legal entity. They should include the name of the nonprofit, its purpose, and how long it will exist (usually 99 years). If you want your organization to be legally registered as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), you must include “nonprofit corporation” or “corporation not for profit” somewhere in your name and in your articles (examples: XYZ Nonprofit Corporation; XYZ Charitable Foundation).

The articles should also include information about how many incorporators there are and where they live or work.

Create a conflict of interest policy for your board members.

A conflict of interest (COI) is defined as “a situation in which a person, other than an employee, has a personal or financial interest in the outcome of a decision that affects the nonprofit organization.” A COI policy should be in place to prevent board members from benefiting from their position or using their influence to enrich themselves.

You can write your own COI policy by following these guidelines:

  • State that all board members must disclose any financial interests that could affect their ability to make decisions objectively. Board members should also inform the entire board if they become aware of any conflicts after they are appointed to serve on it.
  • Explain that you will create procedures for handling conflicts and make sure they are followed consistently across all committees and subcommittees with at least one member who is not being paid by your organization but wants to devote time and energy toward its success because he cares about its mission statement or community impact goals

Acquire funding sources.

Your organization can acquire funding in a number of ways. Here are just a few:

  • Donors
  • Grants
  • Membership dues
  • Fundraising events (e.g., car washes and bake sales)
  • Selling products or services

Starting a nonprofit can be rewarding, but requires a lot of specific steps to ensure your charity meets all legal requirements.

Starting a nonprofit can be rewarding, but it requires a lot of specific steps to ensure your charity meets all legal requirements.

The first step in creating a successful nonprofit is to organize and plan ahead. To start off on the right foot, you’ll need to have all your finances and documentation in order before applying for 501(c)(3) status. Before fundraising or accepting donations, it is essential that you have set up proper funding sources like grants or tax-exempt bonds (also known as “Angel Bonds”).

Next up is selecting the right team members for your organization—both volunteers and paid staff members play an important role in helping run your non-profit successfully! It’s also important that when hiring paid employees they must meet certain criteria including having skills related directly towards carrying out day-to-day operations at their job position which includes running programs such as tutoring children struggling academically (which could lead them along their path towards success). However, if these conditions aren’t met then it would not make sense financially since having them employed full time would cost too much money each month compared with what we’d receive back from clients paying us fees instead.”


Starting a nonprofit can be rewarding, but it’s also a complicated process. If you’re ready to get started on this journey, get in touch with us at We have years of experience helping nonprofits across Mississippi and will be happy to assist you with all of your questions!

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