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

Starting Over

To form a domestic nonprofit company in Iowa, prepare your own Articles of Incorporation in accordance with the Revised Iowa Nonprofit Corporation Act 504.202. This tutorial will walk you through each stage of drafting this document and getting started on the path to founding an Iowa nonprofit.

Step 1: Enter the Name of Your Nonprofit

Step 2: Select a Registered Agent

Step 3: Enter Your Incorporator Information
Step 4: Confirm any additional members
Step 5: Outline the Asset Distribution Upon Dissolution
Step 6: Describe the Purpose of Your Nonprofit
Step 7: Form Your First Board of Directors
Step 8: Include Any Additional Provisions
Step 9: Sign the document.

Step 10: File the documents.

Step 1: List the Name of Your Nonprofit

The first step in preparing your Iowa Articles of Incorporation is to include the name of your organisation. If you haven’t yet decided on a name for your organisation, these are the prerequisites for naming a nonprofit in Iowa:

The name of your charity must be distinct from any other name on record in the state of Iowa, including any reserved names.
The name of your nonprofit cannot indicate a purpose other than what is mentioned in the Articles of Incorporation.

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

Search for Iowa Business Entities
A nonprofit company must have a distinct name in order to exist in Iowa. You may simply verify whether your desired name is available by utilising the Iowa Business Entities 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.

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Step 2: Select a Registered Agent.

In Iowa, the Articles of Incorporation must be filed with a registered agent. This position may be filled by an Iowa citizen, an Iowa profit or nonprofit company, or a foreign profit or nonprofit entity authorised to do business in Iowa. A registered agent’s duties include receiving and sending service of process paperwork for the company as well as acting as the entity’s point of contact. Your company cannot act as its own registered agent.

This section’s requirements include:

The name of your designated registered agent
Your selected registered agent’s street address

Step 3: List Your Incorporator Details

Any individual who takes part in the completion and filing of the Articles of Incorporation is considered an incorporator. In this formation paper, each incorporator must provide their name and address.

Step 4: Confirm Any Members

Indicate whether or not your organisation will have members.

Step 5: Outline the Asset Distribution Upon Dissolution

The assets of your nonprofit must be distributed solely for authorised, tax-exempt purposes following its 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 6: Describe the Purpose of Your Nonprofit

To be qualified for 501(c)(3) status, your nonprofit’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 7: Form Your First Board of Directors

To qualify for 501(c)(3) status, your nonprofit’s Articles of Incorporation must include the names and addresses of at least three directors.

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.”

Step 8: Include Any Additional Provisions

Include any additional requirements that apply to your organisation, such as those pertaining to:

Managing and regulating the corporation’s affairs. These might include:
Powers of the company, its board of directors, and members or any class of members are defined or regulated.
Managing each β€” or any class of β€” member’s traits, qualifications, privileges, limits, and duties.
Excluding or restricting directors’ or members’ responsibility for monetary damages for any action performed or omission to act as a director, save in the circumstances specified in the Articles of Incorporation.
Except for the situations stated in the Articles of Incorporation guidance, allowing or mandating the nonprofit to pay a director for responsibility.

Step 9: Sign the Contract

The Articles of Incorporation must be signed by just one incorporator.

Step 10: Documents for File Formation

In Iowa, you may submit your Articles of Incorporation online, via mail, or by fax.

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