How to Start a Nonprofit in Ohio


Nonprofit organizations are a big part of our society, but starting one isn’t easy. In order to form a nonprofit in Ohio, you must first understand the purpose and goals of your organization and then determine how you want it to be run. Once that’s done, it’s time to begin filing paperwork with state agencies and applying for tax exemptions so that your group can receive donations and grants without having to pay taxes on the money they receive.

Research the nonprofit’s purpose and goals.

  • Research the nonprofit’s purpose and goals. Before you even think about applying for nonprofit status, research the purpose of your nonprofit and how it will help others. Also, define the goals of your organization—both short-term and long-term—and whether or not they are realistic given your resources. Finally, make sure that there is a plan to achieve these goals and if so what steps must be taken to accomplish them.
  • Apply for tax-exempt status with IRS Form 1023 (or 1024). All nonprofits have to apply with IRS Form 1023 in order to receive their tax exemption status as an organization recognized by the IRS as a non-profit organization (NPO). If this part sounds difficult or confusing, there are people who specialize in helping nonprofits through this process all over Ohio who can help guide you every step of the way through filling out forms and submitting them correctly so that everything gets processed quickly but accurately!

Form a board of directors.

A board of directors is a group of people who are responsible for the organization. They should be diverse, meet regularly and be accountable to the public.

The board of directors will have different roles depending on its size and structure. That’s why it’s important to start with forming a small board first before adding new members as your nonprofit grows.

Name your organization.

When naming your organization, there are a few things to consider. First, make sure it’s a short and easy-to-remember name. You’ll need to use that name in the title of your application (see step 2), so choose something that will be easy for people both inside and outside of the community to remember. Second, avoid acronyms or abbreviations; it’s just confusing for everyone involved when there’s no way to easily figure out what an abbreviation stands for. Thirdly—and this is important!—choose a name that is not likely to be confused with an existing nonprofit in Ohio or elsewhere. If you’re having trouble coming up with a good idea for what to call yourself, try searching google images or googling “nonprofit organizations” without using quotation marks around “nonprofit” (because Google won’t know what nonprofit means).

File paperwork to form a nonprofit.

The first step in starting a nonprofit is to file paperwork with the state that allows you to do so. You’ll need to file articles of incorporation and an application for tax exemption with the IRS. In Ohio, you also need to file paperwork with the state office of charitable trusts. You can visit their website for more information about what needs to be included in your application.

Lastly, you’ll need to register with the secretary of state’s office if your organization is located in Ohio.

Apply for tax-exempt status.

After you’ve gathered all of the required documents (and if you haven’t already done so), you can apply for tax-exempt status. Once your application is approved, the IRS will send it back to the Ohio Department of Taxation with a letter recognizing your organization as a tax-exempt entity.

You should receive this letter within six months of submitting your paperwork. Be aware that if you don’t receive it within that time frame, there may be an error in your submission—so check with them before filing again! If everything goes smoothly on their end, then congratulations: Your organization is now officially recognized as exempt from paying state income taxes in Ohio!

If you need to change or update anything about this process later on down the road (like changing organizations’ names), contact the Ohio Board of Education instead. They’ll need an original certificate showing how long they’ve been exempt from paying taxes so far before making any changes themselves

Follow state laws, such as annual reporting requirements.

As you start your nonprofit, it’s important to know that state laws vary. Some states require nonprofits to file annual reports with the state, others do not. Some states require nonprofits to file annual reports with the IRS as well, while others do not.

If you plan on filing an IRS Form 990 or another annual report with your state and/or federal government, then you will need to make sure that your information is accurate and up-to-date. You can ease up the process for yourself and avoid the hassle by hiring professionals to take care of all these forms for you.

Starting a nonprofit requires you to file paperwork, get tax exemptions and follow certain laws.

The process of starting a nonprofit is more complex than many people realize. It involves following certain procedures and filing paperwork, including the application for tax-exempt status, which can be time-consuming and costly.

There are also state laws that you need to follow; for example, Ohio’s annual reporting requirements include filling out yearly forms with your organization’s financial information.


Starting a nonprofit is a great way to make a positive impact in your community. Whether you want to raise money for research or provide services for those in need, your organization can make an impact on lives right away. However, it’s important that you follow the steps outlined above so that everything runs smoothly when starting up your nonprofit.

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