1. Applying for 501(c)(3) Status
2. Naming Your Business
3. Choose a Nonprofit Structure
4. Recruit Directors
5. Appoint a Registered Agent
6. Obtain NY Agency Approval

New York nonprofit registration is the formation of a New York nonprofit organization. If you want to help others, whether it be in the category of religion, education, animal welfare, wildlife habitat, nature, or human services, you can form a nonprofit organization to help others. The primary goal of all nonprofit organizations is to help others and benefit the community as a whole.

In 2012 alone, there were greater than 92,000 nonprofit organizations in the state of New York. But before forming a NY nonprofit, you should check to see if there is already a nonprofit organization doing business in the state that is identical to the type of work you want to do. If so, you can join forces with that nonprofit business to expand and use the existing resources at hand.

Applying for 501(c)(3) Status

Once you are ready to form your nonprofit, you should apply for 501(c)(3) status, as this allows you to:

  1. Obtain additional grants
  2. Accept donations
  3. Benefit from tax exemptions
  4. Have limited liability protection for certain officers
  5. Gain credibility

Naming Your Business

Just like any other new business, you will have to choose a name for your nonprofit. And similar to business naming requirements, you must choose a name that is available for use and not being used by another company, particularly another nonprofit, LLC, corporation, or limited partnership, in the state of NY.

You can run a business entity search on the NY business name database, which can be found on the Divisions of Corporation’s website. If you find out that the name you want to use is available, you will need to choose a name that is appropriate, meaning that you are prohibited from using certain terminology. Also, you must exclude any terminology that would allude to your nonprofit actually operating as a corporation, LLC, or some other type of business structure.

Choose a Nonprofit Structure

In the state of NY, there are two types of nonprofit corporate structures – a religious and non-religious structure. The religious nonprofit will operate under state laws, along with the Religious Corporations Law. All others will operate under the Not-for-Profit Corporations Law.

Furthermore, there are four different kinds of nonprofit classifications under the NY NPC Law. These include:

  1. Type A – non-business purposes, i.e., civic, political, social, athletic, trade, professional, etc.
  2. Type B – non-business purposes, i.e., charitable, educational, scientific, literary, religious, etc.
  3. Type C - public/quasi-public purposes
  4. Type D – other

Some nonprofits might be classified under more than one type. For example, the business might be formed for both Type A and Type B purposes. If that is the case, the business will be classified under Type B. Moreover, if the business falls into Type C, along with any of the other types, the business will always be classified under Type C only.

Recruit Directors

You’ll need to assign directors who will oversee the operations of the nonprofit business. Depending on the state, you can have one, although most companies will hire more than one director, especially if the state requires it. NY, for example, requires 3 directors at a minimum. Such directors will have full oversight of the company, and will manage the nonprofit’s affairs to help it succeed. There is certain criteria and information regarding directors, including the following:

  1. Must be at least 18 years old
  2. There is no residency requirement
  3. The director will serve a term of one year

Appoint a Registered Agent

You will need to appoint a registered agent who will receive and send legal papers on your behalf. The agent must physically reside in the state of NY, and if the agent is a business, it must have a physical office within the state.

Obtain NY Agency Approval

Most NY nonprofits must first obtain NY agency approval prior to operating; any of the following nonprofit industries must obtain such approval:

  1. Trade or business association, i.e., day care, adoption center, foster care center, programs for senior citizens, programs to protect those who have become victims of domestic violence, etc.
  2. General educational services
  3. Medical facilities
  4. Mental health facilitates
  5. Facilities to assist those suffering from an alcohol or substance abuse disorder

Thereafter, you will need to file the organizational document that will be submitted to the Secretary of State’s office. The fee is $75 for standard processing, but you can choose expedited processing for an additional fee.

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