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The first step in forming a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in Massachusetts is to file your Articles of Organization. This article will help you through the 11 steps necessary to submit the Articles of Organization in Massachusetts to formally create a nonprofit.

Starting Over

To establish a domestic nonprofit company in Massachusetts, the Articles of Organization must be filed. This tutorial covers every step you need to take to properly complete this paperwork and get started on the path to founding a Massachusetts charity.

Step 1: List the name of your nonprofit.

Step 2: Describe the purpose of your nonprofit.

Step 3: Confirm any members and member classes.
Step 4: Include Any Supplemental Information
Step 5: Determine the Effective Date of Your Filing
Step 6: List the address of your nonprofit’s main office

Step 7: Name your initial board of directors.
Step 8: State the end date of your fiscal year.
Step 9: Select a Resident Agent.
Step 10: Provide signatures and addresses for incorporators.
Step 11: Documents for File Formation

Step 1: List Your Nonprofit’s Name

The first step in completing the Massachusetts Articles of Group is to specify 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 Massachusetts:

The name of your charity must be distinct from any other name on record in the state of Massachusetts, including any reserved names.
Unless it is a religious institution or church, the name of your nonprofit must imply that it is a company.

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.

Massachusetts Corporate Database Search
A nonprofit company must have a distinct name in order to exist in Massachusetts. You may quickly see whether your preferred name is available by utilising the Massachusetts Business Entity Search tool or the Massachusetts Name Reservation 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: Describe the Purpose of Your Nonprofit

Describe the goal of founding your nonprofit company in article two. For your organisation to be qualified for 501(c)(3) status, it must have 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 3: Confirm any additional members and member classes.

Your nonprofit company may have one or more membership classes. If your organisation will have voting members or several member classes, such information may be disclosed in article three or in your bylaws.

If you want to share such information in this formation document, be sure to include details on how your charity will elect or appoint its members, the length of their membership, and the qualifications and privileges of each member class.

If your organisation will not have any members, enter “none” in this field.

Step 4: Include Any Extra Attachments

You must include some additional statements in your Articles of Organization to qualify for 501(c)(3) status. Because the Massachusetts formation agreement lacks a section on asset distribution upon dissolution, add an attachment to indicate how the assets of your nonprofit company will be allocated following dissolution.

Dissolution assets must only be distributed for authorised, tax-exempt uses. 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 5: Determine the Effective Date of Your Filing

If your intended effective date is not the date of your submission, specify it in article six.

Please keep in mind that your effective date cannot be more than 30 days from the date of your filing.

Step 6: Provide the address of your nonprofit’s main office.

Include the street address of your nonprofit’s main office in article seven. A P.O. Box cannot be included.

Step 7: Give your name Your Founding Board of Directors

Massachusetts requires you to include the names and addresses of your original board of directors, which includes the elected officials listed below:


Step 8: State the end date of your fiscal year.

Indicate the month and day when your nonprofit’s fiscal (tax) year will come to a conclusion. Most organisations choose December 31, however this is not needed.

Step 9: Select a Registered Agent.

In Massachusetts, the Articles of Organization must be filed with a resident agent, also known as a registered agent in most states. This position may be filled by either a person or a corporation having a physical address in Massachusetts. A resident 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 resident agent.

This section’s requirements include:

Your selected resident agent’s name
Your selected resident agent’s business address

Step 10: Provide signatures and addresses for incorporators.

Each of your incorporators should sign the Articles of Organization and provide their business or home address. On the last page of the paper, you must also provide contact information for your company.

Step 11: Documents for File Formation

You may submit your Massachusetts Articles of Organization in four ways: online, via mail, by fax, or in person.

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