How to Start a Nonprofit Corporation in Ohio (2024 Guide)


Steve Bennett
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Start a Nonprofit Corporation in Ohio

If you would like to form a corporation in Ohio, you should also consider starting a nonprofit corporation since it plays a crucial role in our society, addressing a wide range of community needs and positively impacting countless lives. Starting a nonprofit corporation in Ohio can be rewarding, but it requires careful planning, dedication, and a thorough understanding of the various legal and financial requirements.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through Starting a Nonprofit Corporation in Ohio, from initial planning to ongoing compliance, so that you can make a meaningful difference in your community.

If you want to know more about nonprofit corporations, you may read the whole article until the end, which the Webinarcare Editorial Team had thorough research. Before starting a nonprofit corporation in Ohio, you must cross-check all the factors and be guided by the steps.

What is a Nonprofit Corporation?

A nonprofit corporation is a legal entity formed under a given state’s specific laws and regulations in the United States. It is created to serve a public or mutual benefit rather than generating profits for its owners or shareholders. Nonprofit corporations typically operate in education, healthcare, social services, arts and culture, and environmental conservation.

In a nonprofit corporation, any surplus income the organization generates is reinvested into its programs and services rather than distributed to shareholders or members. This allows nonprofits to focus on fulfilling their mission and addressing community needs without the pressure to maximize profits.

An example of a nonprofit corporation in Ohio is Mid-Ohio Foodbank – Works to end hunger by providing food to those in need across central and eastern Ohio..

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Steps on How to Start a Nonprofit Corporation in Ohio

To start a nonprofit corporation in Ohio, you must follow the below steps that, include research and planning, choosing a corporate name, appointing directors, filing for Articles of Incorporation, creating corporate bylaws, holding the initial board of directors, issuing stock, obtaining required licenses and permits, registering with state tax agencies, Biennial reporting and ongoing compliance. All these steps are basic ones. It can be changed depending on the type of corporation you form and the nature of your business.

Step 1: Research and Planning

Before starting your nonprofit corporation in Ohio, you must research and plan. This stage is critical to the success of your nonprofit, as it will help you refine your mission, identify potential supporters, and avoid pitfalls. By conducting thorough research and developing a well-informed plan, you can establish a nonprofit corporation that makes a real difference in the lives of those you serve.

Step 2: Choose a Name for the Nonprofit

Once you have a clear vision for your Ohio nonprofit corporation, it’s time to choose a name. Your organization’s name should be unique, memorable, and reflective of your mission and purpose. Follow these steps to choose and register your nonprofit’s name in Ohio:

Consider the Mission and Purpose when Choosing the Name

Your nonprofit’s name should be closely tied to its mission and purpose, making it clear to potential supporters what your organization is about. Choose a name that is meaningful and easy to remember, as this will help with marketing and fundraising efforts.

Check for Name Availability with the Ohio Secretary of State

Before registering your nonprofit’s name, you must ensure another organization still needs to use it in Ohio. You can do this by checking the Ohio Secretary of State ‘s online database or contacting their office directly.

Register the Name

Depending on your Ohio ‘s requirements, you may need to register your nonprofit’s name with the Secretary of State. This typically involves completing a name reservation of some time or registration form and paying an online reservation fee of $39, and mail reservation fee of $39. Be sure to follow your state’s specific guidelines and procedures for name registration.

To check the availability of your desired corporate name, you can search the Ohio Secretary of State’s business name database and Ohio Business Name Search.

If your nonprofit corporation plans to operate under a name other than its legal name, you may also need to register a fictitious or “doing business as” (DBA) name.

The DBA filing can be done by two methods, by mail and in person., which costs around Varies by county. In addition, the DBA’s validity in Ohio is five years, which you can file in Ohio Secretary of State.

You can check out How to File a DBA in Ohio for clearer understanding.

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Step 3: Hire a Statutory Agent

Hiring a Statutory Agent is essential in starting a nonprofit corporation. Statutory Agent is a person or company responsible for receiving important legal documents, tax notices, and other correspondence for your nonprofit corporation. They ensure that your nonprofit corporation remains compliant with state regulations and requirements. There are Ohio Statutory Agent Services to check in forming Ohio Nonprofit Corporation.

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Step 4: Establish Governance and Bylaws

With your nonprofit’s name in place, it’s time to establish your organization’s governance structure and create bylaws. These important documents will outline how your nonprofit will be run, including the roles and responsibilities of board members, the decision-making process, and the procedures for managing finances and record-keeping.

  • Choose the Initial Board of Directors: Your nonprofit’s board of directors will guide your organization’s activities and ensure its long-term success. Choose individuals passionate about your mission, bring diverse skills and expertise to the table, and are willing to commit the time and effort needed to fulfill their responsibilities as board members. In Ohio, you need to have at least Three directors for you to operate a nonprofit corporation.
  • Create Bylaws: Your bylaws are the governing document for your nonprofit, outlining the roles and responsibilities of board members, the decision-making process, and the procedures for managing finances and record-keeping. Be sure to cover board meetings, voting, committees, officer positions, conflicts of interest, and amendment procedures. Your bylaws should be tailored to your organization’s needs and requirements and developed in consultation with an attorney experienced in nonprofit law.
  • Hold the First Board Meeting: Once your bylaws have been drafted, hold your first board meeting to review and approve them. This meeting should also include the election of officers, such as the president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. Be sure to document the meeting’s discussions and decisions in meeting minutes, as these records will be important for maintaining your nonprofit’s legal compliance.

Step 5: Incorporate the Nonprofit

The next step in starting your Ohio nonprofit corporation is to formally incorporate your organization with the Ohio Secretary of State. Incorporation establishes your nonprofit as a separate legal entity and provides limited liability protection for its board members and officers. To incorporate your nonprofit, follow these steps:

Prepare the Articles of Incorporation

The Articles of Incorporation is the legal document formally establishing your nonprofit corporation. This document should include your organization’s name, purpose, Statutory Agent, and principal office address. Be sure to follow your state’s specific requirements for the content and format of the Articles of Incorporation.

File the Articles of Incorporation

Once your Articles of Incorporation is complete, please submit them to the Ohio Secretary of State’s office, along with any required filing fees. The filing process may vary depending on your state, but it typically involves mailing or submitting the documents online. Keep a copy of the filed Articles of Incorporation for your records.

Filing Articles of Incorporation in Ohio may be done with three methods that are online, by mail and drop box. The Articles of Incorporation fee may vary from different state. However, in Ohio, it costs $99 for online and by mail filing.

  • Online Filing: Create an account/Log in to the SOS site, get the online form, fill it, and submit online
  • Offline filing: Send the form by mail or drop it off at Ohio Secretary of State, P.O. Box 670, Columbus, OH 43216

Step 6: Apply for State and Federal Tax Exemptions

Your organization may be eligible for state and federal tax exemptions as a nonprofit corporation. Obtaining tax-exempt status can save your nonprofit money and make it more attractive to potential donors. To apply for tax exemptions, follow these steps:

Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An EIN in Ohio is a unique number the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assigns to your organization. You’ll need this number to apply for tax-exempt status and open a bank account for your nonprofit. You can obtain an EIN by completing the online application on the IRS website or submitting Form SS-4 by mail or fax.

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Apply for Federal Tax-Exempt Status (501(c)(3))

To apply for federal tax-exempt status, you’ll need to complete and submit Form 1023 or Form 1023-EZ, depending on the size and complexity of your organization. This application requires detailed information about your nonprofit’s finances, governance, and programs. Be prepared to provide supporting documentation, including your bylaws, Articles of Incorporation, and financial projections. You’ll also need to pay a filing fee, which varies depending on the size of your organization and the form you submit.

Apply for Ohio Tax-Exempt Status

In addition to federal tax-exempt status, your nonprofit may be eligible for state tax exemptions. The process for applying for state tax-exempt status varies by state, so research your specific state’s requirements and procedures. This may involve submitting additional forms, documentation, and fees to the Ohio Department of Taxation.

Step 7: Obtain the Necessary Licenses and Permits

Depending on your nonprofit’s activities and location, you may need to obtain various licenses and permits to operate legally—research local, state, and federal requirements and apply for any necessary licenses and permits. Be sure to maintain compliance by renewing licenses and permits as needed and staying up-to-date on any regulation changes.

Step 8: Develop a Fundraising Plan and Strategy

Fundraising is critical to the success of your Ohio nonprofit corporation, providing the financial resources needed to carry out your mission and programs. Develop a comprehensive fundraising plan that outlines your goals, strategies, and timelines for raising funds. This plan should include various funding sources, such as grants, donations, and special events. Create marketing materials and strategies to promote your nonprofit’s fundraising efforts and engage potential supporters.

Step 9: Open a Bank Account for the Nonprofit

With your legal and financial foundations in place, it’s time to open a bank account for your nonprofit corporation. Choose a bank that offers services tailored to nonprofits and provides the features and support your organization needs. To open an account, you’ll typically need to provide your EIN, Articles of Incorporation, bylaws, and a resolution authorizing the account opening. Establish proper financial controls and procedures to ensure responsible management of the organization’s funds.

You can check out the Ohio Best Banks to know which bank will suit your nonprofit corporation.

Step 10: Establish Record-Keeping Systems

Effective record-keeping and reporting are essential for maintaining your nonprofit’s legal and financial compliance and demonstrating transparency and accountability to your supporters. Set up systems for tracking financial transactions, maintaining records of your organization’s activities, and reporting to the IRS, state, and other relevant agencies. Stay up-to-date on reporting requirements and deadlines to ensure your nonprofit remains in good standing. Hiring a CPA in Ohio for this reporting system is best.

Step 11: Launch and Promote the Nonprofit

With your Ohio nonprofit corporation officially established and your financial and legal foundations in place, it’s time to launch your organization and begin making a difference in your community. Develop a marketing plan to promote your nonprofit’s mission and services, including creating a website, social media presence, and other marketing materials. Network with other nonprofits, community organizations, and stakeholders to build partnerships and collaborations to strengthen your organization’s impact.

Step 12: Ongoing Compliance and Management

Starting a nonprofit corporation is just the beginning – maintaining your organization’s legal and financial compliance is an ongoing responsibility. Stay informed about changes in nonprofit laws and regulations, file required Biennial Reports and financial statements, and regularly review and update your bylaws, policies, and procedures as needed. Foster positive relationships with board members, volunteers, and supporters to ensure your nonprofit’s continued success.

Cost of Forming a Nonprofit Corporation in Ohio

In forming a nonprofit corporation in Ohio, the filing and Biennial fees must be paid. Without it, your nonprofit corporation won’t operate. In Ohio, the nonprofit costs $99 for online and by mail filing, and should file an Biennial Report. You should ensure you comply with all the necessary fees and costs so your Ohio nonprofit corporation will run successfully and smoothly.

Is Forming a Nonprofit Corporation in Ohio Worth It?

Forming a nonprofit corporation in Ohio can be worth it if you are dedicated to a specific cause and prepared to meet the challenges and responsibilities of running a nonprofit organization. It is essential to carefully consider your goals and resources and consult with a Business Attorney in Ohio or other professionals experienced in nonprofit formation and management to ensure that you are making the best decision for your situation.

FAQs

What is a non-profit corporation in Ohio?
A non-profit corporation in Ohio is a legal entity formed for the purpose of carrying out a specific charitable, religious, educational, or scientific mission.
How do I start a non-profit corporation in Ohio?
To start a non-profit corporation in Ohio, you need to file Articles of Incorporation with the Ohio Secretary of State, obtain tax-exempt status from the IRS, and register for charitable solicitation with the Ohio Attorney General.
What are the requirements for filing Articles of Incorporation in Ohio?
To file Articles of Incorporation in Ohio, you need to provide the name of the non-profit corporation, its purpose, its duration, its initial registered agent and office, and the names and addresses of its incorporators.
How much does it cost to file Articles of Incorporation in Ohio?
It costs $99 to file Articles of Incorporation in Ohio, plus an additional $125 fee if expedited processing is requested.
How long does it take to receive approval for Articles of Incorporation in Ohio?
It takes approximately 5 to 7 business days to process Articles of Incorporation in Ohio, although expedited processing is available for an additional fee.
What is a registered agent in Ohio?
A registered agent in Ohio is a person or business entity that is designated to receive legal documents and official correspondence on behalf of the non-profit corporation.
Can I act as my own registered agent in Ohio?
Yes, you can act as your own registered agent in Ohio if you have a physical address and are available during regular business hours to receive official documents.
What do I need to do to obtain tax-exempt status from the IRS in Ohio?
To obtain tax-exempt status from the IRS in Ohio, you need to file Form 1023 or Form 1023-EZ, along with all other necessary documentation and supporting materials.
How long does it take to receive tax-exempt status from the IRS in Ohio?
It typically takes 3 to 6 months to receive tax-exempt status from the IRS in Ohio, although expedited processing is sometimes available for an additional fee.
What is the purpose of registering for charitable solicitation in Ohio?
Registering for charitable solicitation in Ohio allows your non-profit corporation to legally solicit donations and grants from the public.
How do I register for charitable solicitation in Ohio?
To register for charitable solicitation in Ohio, you need to file a Charitable Organization Registration Statement with the Ohio Attorney General.
Are there any exemptions from Ohio’s charitable solicitation registration requirements?
Yes, certain types of organizations, such as religious organizations and those receiving less than $25,000 in annual contributions, may be exempt from Ohio’s charitable solicitation registration requirements.
How often do I need to file annual reports with the Ohio Secretary of State?
Non-profit corporations in Ohio are required to file biennial reports with the Secretary of State.
Can I change the name of my non-profit corporation in Ohio after it has been formed?
Yes, you can change the name of your non-profit corporation in Ohio by submitting an amendment to your Articles of Incorporation.
What is a conflict of interest policy in Ohio?
A conflict of interest policy in Ohio is a policy that requires directors and officers of a non-profit corporation to disclose any actual or potential conflicts of interest that may arise in the course of their duties.
Are there any compliance requirements to maintain tax-exempt status in Ohio?
Yes, non-profit corporations with tax-exempt status in Ohio are required to file annual IRS Form 990 returns, hold meetings with their governing boards, and maintain adequate record keeping and financial reporting.
Can non-profit corporations in Ohio pay their directors or officers?
Yes, non-profit corporations in Ohio can pay their directors or officers for services rendered, but the compensation must be reasonable and no excessive in relation to the services provided.
What is the process for dissolving a non-profit corporation in Ohio?
To dissolve a non-profit corporation in Ohio, you need to file Articles of Dissolution with the Ohio Secretary of State and distribute the assets of the corporation according to its bylaws.
Can I convert my non-profit corporation to a for-profit corporation in Ohio?
Yes, you can convert your non-profit corporation to a for-profit corporation in Ohio by filing a Certificate of Conversion with the Ohio Secretary of State.
What are the implications of converting a non-profit corporation to a for-profit corporation in Ohio?
Converting a non-profit corporation to a for-profit corporation in Ohio may result in the loss of tax exempt status and may require the establishment of new management structures and liability protections.
Are non-profit corporations in Ohio required to have bylaws?
Yes, non-profit corporations in Ohio are required to have bylaws that establish the rules for governing the organization and ensure that it is operating in accordance with its mission.
What should be included in a non-profit corporation’s bylaws in Ohio?
A non-profit corporation’s bylaws in Ohio should include provisions related to its purpose, governance, mission, conflict of interest policies, membership, and meetings.
What is the process for amending a non-profit corporation’s bylaws in Ohio?
Non-profit corporations in Ohio can amend their bylaws by a vote of the members, or in accordance with procedures established in the bylaws themselves.
Do non-profit corporations in Ohio need to have members?
No, non-profit corporations in Ohio are not required to have members, but they may choose to do so for ease of organizing and carrying out the mission.
How can members participate in the governance of a non-profit corporation in Ohio?
Members can participate in the governance of a non-profit corporation in Ohio by attending meetings, voting on important matters, and serving on governing boards and committees.
What is the difference between a member of a non-profit corporation and a donor?
A member of a non-profit corporation in Ohio is typically someone who has a vested interest in the organization’s purpose and mission, and who has participated in its governance structure. A donor, on the other hand, is someone who has made a financial contribution to the organization, but may not be otherwise involved in its governance.
Can non-profit corporations in Ohio engage in political advocacy or lobbying?
Yes, non-profit corporations in Ohio can engage in political advocacy or lobbying, but they must comply with restrictions related to financial contributions and activities that support particular candidates.
What are the benefits of starting a non-profit corporation in Ohio?
The benefits of starting a non-profit corporation in Ohio include exemption from federal income tax, limited liability protection for directors and officers, and access to grants.
What are the requirements for starting a non-profit corporation in Ohio?
The requirements for starting a non-profit corporation in Ohio include filing articles of incorporation, obtaining tax-exempt status, and complying with state and federal regulations.
How do I choose a name for my non-profit corporation in Ohio?
To choose a name for your non-profit corporation in Ohio, you need to ensure that it is available by checking with the Secretary of State’s office and meet the state’s naming requirements.
How do I file articles of incorporation for my non-profit corporation in Ohio?
You can file articles of incorporation for your non-profit corporation in Ohio online with the Secretary of State’s office or by mail.
How much does it cost to file articles of incorporation for a non-profit corporation in Ohio?
It costs $99 to file articles of incorporation for a non-profit corporation in Ohio.
How long does it take to get approval for articles of incorporation for my non-profit corporation in Ohio?
Processing times can take up to 3-5 business days for online filings and 7-10 business days for filings by mail.
Where do I apply for tax-exempt status for my non-profit corporation in Ohio?
You can apply for tax-exempt status for your non-profit corporation in Ohio with the IRS.
How long does it take to get tax-exempt status for my non-profit corporation in Ohio?
The processing time for obtaining tax-exempt status for your non-profit corporation in Ohio can take up to 6 months.
Can an individual start a non-profit corporation in Ohio?
Yes, an individual can start a non-profit corporation in Ohio.
What are the key components of bylaws for a non-profit corporation in Ohio?
Key components of bylaws for a non-profit corporation in Ohio include the organization’s purpose and structure, governance, and requirements for meetings and records.
Who can be a board member of a non-profit corporation in Ohio?
Anyone who is 18 years or older and has not engaged in fraudulent activities or committed crimes can be a board member of a non-profit corporation in Ohio.
Does Ohio require non-profit corporations to have a registered agent?
Yes, non-profit corporations in Ohio are required to have a registered agent.
Can a non-profit corporation in Ohio engage in for-profit activities?
Yes, a non-profit corporation in Ohio can engage in some for-profit activities as long as they support the organization’s charitable goals and are not the primary focus.
How often does a non-profit corporation in Ohio need to file annual reports?
Non-profit corporations in Ohio are required to file annual reports with the Secretary of State’s office every year by the anniversary of the filing of their articles of incorporation.
Can a non-profit corporation in Ohio be sued?
Yes, non-profit corporations in Ohio can be sued.
What is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status?
501(c)(3) tax-exempt status is when the IRS grants a non-profit corporation exemption from federal income tax and the organization is deemed a charitable organization.
Can I start a non-profit corporation in Ohio without tax-exempt status?
Yes, you can start a non-profit corporation in Ohio without tax-exempt status, however, you won’t receive the benefits that come with it, such as exemptions from federal income tax and donor’s contributions.
How do I hire employees for my non-profit corporation in Ohio?
You can hire employees for your non-profit corporation in Ohio by following the same processes as for-profit corporations, such as creating job descriptions and conducting interviews.
What kind of insurance do non-profit corporations in Ohio need?
Non-profit corporations in Ohio typically require liability insurance and director’s and officer’s insurance.
Can non-profit corporations in Ohio conduct raffles, bingo, or other gambling-related activities?
Non-profit corporations in Ohio can conduct limited raffles and games of chance under certain restrictions.
How do I dissolve a non-profit corporation in Ohio?
You can dissolve a non-profit corporation in Ohio by following the process outlined in the Ohio Nonprofit Corporation Law and filing dissolution paperwork with the Secretary of State’s office.
What happens to the assets if a non-profit corporation in Ohio dissolves?
The assets of a non-profit corporation in Ohio must be distributed to another charitable organization or to the state attorney general’s office upon dissolution.
Can I convert my for-profit business to a non-profit corporation in Ohio?
Yes, you can convert your for-profit business to a non-profit corporation in Ohio by following the proper process.
How do I update my non-profit corporation’s information with the state of Ohio?
You can update your non-profit corporation’s information with the state of Ohio by filing amendment paperwork with the Secretary of State’s office.
Do I need to renew my non-profit corporation’s registration in Ohio?
Non-profit corporations in Ohio need to file annual reports with the Secretary of State’s office every year to state that the organization is still operational.
What is the Ohio Attorney General’s office’s role in regulating non-profit corporations?
The Ohio Attorney General’s office has a Charitable Law Section, which regulates non-profit corporations in Ohio to ensure that they are operating for legitimate charitable purposes and meet the requirements of state and federal law.
Can non-profit corporations in Ohio lobby for political causes or donate to political campaigns?
Non-profit corporations in Ohio can engage in limited lobbying activities but are not allowed to donate to political campaigns.

Also Read

Why You Should Start Ohio Nonprofit

One of the main reasons to start a nonprofit in Ohio is the state’s favorable regulatory environment. Ohio has streamlined the process of establishing and maintaining a nonprofit organization, making it easier for individuals and groups to get started on their missions. The state also provides a range of resources and support for nonprofits, including grant opportunities and training programs, to help them thrive and succeed.

Another reason to start a nonprofit in Ohio is the strong sense of community in the state. Ohioans are known for their generosity and willingness to support causes that are important to them. By starting a nonprofit in Ohio, you have access to a pool of dedicated volunteers and donors who are eager to make a difference in their communities. This support can help your nonprofit grow and expand its impact, reaching more people and making a bigger difference in the world.

In addition to the support from the community, starting a nonprofit in Ohio can also be a fulfilling and rewarding experience for those involved. Nonprofit work allows individuals to pursue their passions, create positive change, and make a lasting impact on the world around them. Whether you are passionate about education, healthcare, the environment, or social justice, starting a nonprofit in Ohio allows you to channel that passion into tangible results that benefit others.

Starting a nonprofit in Ohio also opens up opportunities for collaboration and partnership with other organizations. Ohio is home to a vibrant nonprofit sector, with organizations working on a wide range of issues and causes. By joining forces with other nonprofits, you can amplify your impact and reach even more people in need. Collaboration allows organizations to share resources, expertise, and best practices, ultimately leading to greater success in achieving their missions.

Finally, starting a nonprofit in Ohio can help you build valuable skills and experience that will benefit you personally and professionally. Nonprofit work requires individuals to develop key skills such as leadership, communication, fundraising, and project management. By starting a nonprofit in Ohio, you have the opportunity to hone these skills and gain valuable experience that can serve you well in any future endeavors.

Overall, starting a nonprofit in Ohio is a great way to make a meaningful impact on the world while also benefiting from the state’s supportive environment, strong sense of community, and opportunities for collaboration and personal growth. If you have a passion for helping others and want to make a difference in the world, starting a nonprofit in Ohio may be the perfect opportunity for you.

Conclusion

Starting a nonprofit corporation is a rewarding and challenging endeavor that requires careful planning, dedication, and a thorough understanding of the various legal and financial requirements. By following the steps outlined in this comprehensive guide, you’ll be well on your way to creating a nonprofit that makes a meaningful difference in your community. As you embark on this journey, remember to stay focused on your mission and your organization’s impact on the lives of those you serve. Never underestimate the power of a passionate, committed team working together to improve the world.

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