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The first step in forming a 501(c)(3) charity in Colorado is to file your Articles of Incorporation. This tutorial will help you through the nine procedures necessary to submit the Articles of Incorporation in Colorado and formally create a charity.


Starting Over

To establish a domestic nonprofit organisation in Colorado, you must complete and submit the state’s Articles of Incorporation for a Nonprofit Corporation online. On their website, the Secretary of State publishes a sample of the whole document. This tutorial covers every step you need to take to properly complete this paperwork and get started on the path to founding a Colorado charity.

Step 1: Provide the Name of Your Nonprofit Step 2: Provide the Address(es) of Your Nonprofit Step 3: Select a Registered Agent
Step 4: Make a list of your incorporators.
Step 5: Verify any voting members.
Step 6: Describe how your nonprofit’s assets will be distributed upon dissolution. Step 7: Include any further attachments.
Step 8: Determine the Effective Date of Your Filing
Step 9: Documents for Formation

Step 1: List the Name of Your Nonprofit

The first step in completing the Colorado Articles of Incorporation is to provide the name of your organisation in article one of the document. If you haven’t yet decided on a name for your organisation, these are the prerequisites for naming a nonprofit in Colorado:

Your nonprofit’s name must be distinct from any other name on file in Colorado, including any reserved names.
Your nonprofit’s name cannot include any terms that suggest it is associated with a government entity.
Your nonprofit’s name cannot contain the terms “university,” “bank,” “credit union,” or “trust” as a distinct word to indicate that the organisation is involved in banking or trust.

Look for the Availability of Your Name
Following the selection of prospective names — preferably, at least four or five — it’s essential to check their availability in your state. You may do this by completing the four suggested searches listed below.

Name Availability in Colorado
A nonprofit company must have a distinct name in order to exist in Colorado. You may quickly see whether your desired name is available by utilising the Colorado Business Database Search tool or the Colorado Name Availability Search tool.

Domain Name Lookup
We highly advise you to additionally check to see whether your company name is accessible as a web domain (URL). Even if you don’t intend to construct a company website right away, you should purchase the domain name to prevent others from gaining it. It’s a completely free search.

Federal Trademark Lookup
Using the federal Trademark Electronic Search System, you may quickly see whether your preferred charity name has already been trademarked. Even if you do not intend to create your charity right immediately, this is essential.

You may register for a trademark for your organisation after you have confirmed that no one else has previously trademarked your selected name.

Search the Web and Social Media
A good social media presence can help you reach out to prospective funders as well as customers who will employ your services. As a result, before registering your preferred name, check the web and prominent social media platforms for it to confirm it is accessible on all platforms where you want to advertise your group.

Step 2: Provide the Address of Your Nonprofit (es)

You must mention the street address of your nonprofit’s main office in article two of the paper. This information must meet the following criteria:

Include the name and number of the street, as well as any appropriate suite, unit, or apartment number.
Please provide the city, state, and ZIP code.
For any address outside the United States, provide the nation and, if appropriate, the province.
It should be noted that the street address cannot be a P.O. Box.

You may then give a postal address if you choose. This is necessary if you are unable to receive mail at the street address you gave or if the postal address of your organisation changes from its street address.

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Step 3: Select a Registered Agent.

In Colorado, the Articles of Incorporation must be filed with a registered agent. This job may be filled by anybody other than your nonprofit company who has a physical address in the state. A registered agent’s duties include receiving and sending service of process paperwork for the company as well as acting as the organization’s point of contact.

You must add the following information to complete this section:

Name of your registered agent
The street address of your registered agency (a mailing address is optional)
A declaration of permission from your registered agent confirming their approval to serve in this capacity (Simply tick the applicable box to confirm your registered agent’s consent.)

Step 4: Make a list of your incorporators.

Provide the name and postal address of the individual creating the nonprofit company, also known as an incorporator, in article four. This position may be filled by anybody over the age of 18 or by a corporate organisation.

If you have more than one incorporator, provide a separate document with their name(s) and postal address with your Articles of Incorporation (es).

Step 5: Verify any voting members.

Check the box in article five if your nonprofit corporation will have voting members.

Step 6: Describe how your nonprofit’s assets will be distributed if it is dissolved.

Describe how your nonprofit corporation’s assets will be dispersed if it is dissolved in article six. Use an attachment if you need more space.

To qualify for 501(c)(3) status, your organisation must only disperse its assets to recognised, tax-exempt causes upon dissolution. Refer to the sixth section of the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS’) proposed wording for corporations and organisations for further information on the requirements of dissolution and 501(c)(3) status.

Step 7: Include Any Extra Attachments

The Articles of Incorporation for a nonprofit company in Colorado do not include provisions for disclosing information about the board of directors and the organization’s mission. However, if you prefer to reveal material in order to meet IRS criteria for 501(c)(3) status, you may mark yes in this box to add attachments.

Here’s what you need to know to effectively share this information:

Create Your First Board of Directors
In Colorado, you are not required to designate your board of directors in your formation paperwork. To qualify for 501(c)(3) status, however, a minimum of three board directors are necessary. If you want to list more than three, you must include that information on a separate page. Follow these guidelines while creating your nonprofit’s inaugural board of directors:

Prefixes such as “Mr.” or “Ms.” should be avoided.
Use lineage titles if relevant.
If appropriate, use titles such as “M.D.” or “Ph.D.”
Read our How to Develop a Board of Directors for a Nonprofit in Colorado article for a comprehensive guide on creating your nonprofit’s board of directors.

Describe the Goal of Your Nonprofit
To be qualified for 501(c)(3) status, your organization’s mission must incorporate one or more of the following characteristics:

Public safety testing
promoting amateur sports competition on a national and worldwide scale
Preventing animal/child cruelty

Step 8: Determine the Effective Date of Your Filing

Leave this area blank if you want your formation papers to be effective immediately after processing. If you choose to postpone the effective date and time of your filing, enter your preferred effective date and time (time is optional). You may postpone the effective date of your filing for up to 90 days.

Step 9: Documents for Formation

Only the Articles of Incorporation may be filed online in Colorado.

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