How to Start a Nonprofit in Oregon


Starting a nonprofit is a big undertaking, and there are many steps to take before you get to the fun parts of running your new organization. If you want to be sure that your nonprofit get off on the right foot and stays in compliance with all state and federal regulations, follow this guide for how to start a non-profit in Oregon.

Choose a name for your nonprofit.

Before you do anything else, decide on a name for your nonprofit. A good first step is to check that the name isn’t already taken.

Form a board of directors and file paperwork with the state of Oregon.

A board of directors is a group of people who serve as an organization’s leaders. Your board will help you raise funds, make decisions about the direction of your nonprofit, and hire staff.

You should have at least three members on your board:

  • One person who has experience in finance or accounting
  • One person with business management experience
  • One individual who has expertise in philanthropy or community development

Register with the IRS.

In order to start a nonprofit, you’ll need to register with the IRS. The best way to do this is by filing Form 1023 and submitting it. If you have questions about how to complete your application or file electronically through e-file, you can contact the professionals at Trademark Avenue.

Once you’ve submitted your online application, you will receive confirmation within 30 minutes that an assigned number has been given to your organization by the IRS based on its name and address information provided during registration (if applicable). Once this number has been generated, it will be valid for 90 days from the date of issuance unless otherwise stated by law; however, many new nonprofits are able to complete their submissions prior to making sure there’s no lapse in coverage time imposed upon them before starting work towards achieving 501(c)(3) status with regards towards tax exemption status under US federal law which would require additional steps including obtaining approval from both state & federal officials before receiving final approval

File annual reports with the state of Oregon, including a registration renewal and an annual report to the Attorney General.

In addition to all the above, nonprofits also have to file annual reports with the state of Oregon.

  • The first is an annual report to the Attorney General. This report must be filed every year between January 1 and March 31. It should include:
  • The mission of your nonprofit
  • Your financial information from the previous tax year (including a balance sheet and income statement)
  • The names and contact information for any board members

Consider whether you want to register as a charity in Oregon.

Registering as a charity in Oregon will help you raise more money because it makes people feel more comfortable donating to your organization. However, the registration process is not free and may cost you several hundred dollars or more. You will also have to spend time submitting annual reports with both the state of Oregon and the IRS.

In addition, many small nonprofits choose not to register as a charity (or group) with their state because they don’t need this status for any other reason besides being able to raise funds.

Starting a nonprofit is complicated, but it isn’t impossible.

Starting a nonprofit organization is a big undertaking, one that requires time, effort, and care. If you’re considering starting your own nonprofit (or even if you’re not), here are some steps to take to make sure everything goes smoothly:

  • Research the legal requirements for nonprofits in Oregon. The state has laws regarding how donations and other funds must be handled and spent, which can vary depending on whether your nonprofit is classified as charitable or educational.
  • Choose an appropriate name for your organization—and check with the state before using it! You may end up needing approval from either the Secretary of State’s office or an attorney in order to register as a nonprofit; researching this beforehand will save both time and money later on down the line when it comes time for filing taxes or applying for grants.


Starting a nonprofit organization is not easy, but it’s not impossible either. Think about what you want to accomplish and find other people who share that vision. Then get to work. You might be surprised by how much support you can find in your community—and how much good you can do when you put all those resources together!

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