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NONPROFIT organisations in California will almost certainly need to select and employ a registered agent.


A registered agent receives any official documents from the State of California, as well as any service of process that may be served on a firm in a lawsuit.

What Exactly Is a California Process Server?

An agent for service of process is a professional who will represent your company to the California Secretary of State while you do business. Service of process agents are known as registered agents, resident agents, or statutory agents in certain states.

Typically, your agent for service of process will receive letters on your behalf, such as compliance information and tax alerts. Process service agents are also in charge of taking service of process papers. This simply means that if your organisation is sued, your agent for serving of process will receive the court summons and papers on its behalf.

The following are the criteria for service of process agents in California:

They might be either native or international persons or businesses.
Individuals must be residents of California.
To operate in California, businesses must be registered.
They must have a physical address in California (not simply a P.O. box).
During normal business hours, they must always be accessible at the specified physical location.

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Can I Act as My Own Process Server in California?

As long as they satisfy the conditions specified above, any anyone may act as your nonprofit’s agent for serving of process. You may opt to serve as your nonprofit’s agent for service of process; alternatively, you may appoint a member of your board of directors or a trustworthy friend.

If you choose to serve as your organization’s agent for process service, you must grasp the significance of the job. If you miss a filing date or misplace a document, your nonprofit’s compliance status may be jeopardised, and the Secretary of State may revoke your nonprofit’s corporate registration.

Many organisations and other companies engage a professional registered agent service to guarantee that their company is always in compliance.

Should My Nonprofit Hire a Registered Agent in California?

Before you choose a California registered agent service, think about the benefits and drawbacks of this technique.


There are various reasons why you should consider employing a registered agent service for your nonprofit organisation. This strategy, in particular, can:

Save Time: When you initially launch your California charity, you must concentrate on doing everything possible to ensure its success. Hiring a registered agent service allows you to concentrate on what matters most while the registered agent service handles all incoming mail and official notifications. Furthermore, they will often remind you of approaching key files or deadlines.
Protect Your Personal Privacy and the Reputation of Your Company: Unfortunately, your company may face a lawsuit at some point. All service of process notifications will be sent to a business address if you engage a professional registered agent service. If you function as your own process server, law enforcement officers may deliver these notifications to your home or workplace, depending on the address on file.

Registered agent services are used to receiving and correctly processing legal documentation, in addition to preserving your privacy and the reputation of your firm. This will assist to guarantee that your company does not lose a lawsuit on a technicality because you failed to submit anything on time or handled something incorrectly due to a lack of understanding of how the legal system operates.
Ensure that your business mail is handled promptly: Because a registered agent service’s principal function is to act as an agent for service of process for a variety of organisations, you can be certain that any mail they receive will be addressed quickly. They will also be accessible during regular business hours to address any queries you may have concerning these papers.
Maintain Your Nonprofit’s Compliance: You must keep your organisation in compliance with the State of California and the federal government (assuming you successfully petition for 501(c)(3) registration). Hiring a registered agent service can assist you avoid missing any filings.
Provide Convenience: Process servers must be present at their specified address throughout business hours. That is, using a registered agent service will enable you to take time off as required and work on a flexible schedule if wanted.
Provide National Serve: If you believe your organisation may desire to expand nationally, choose a national registered agent service that will continue to support you as your firm expands.


The sole downside of using a registered agent service is that it is costly, while you might serve as your own agent for free.

Is a Professional Registered Agent Service Required?

While employing a professional registered agent service is a good idea for many reasons, in other cases it is required. If you answered “yes” to any of the following questions, your organisation should use a registered agent service.

Is your non-profit open at odd hours? As previously stated, your nonprofit’s agent for service of process must be accessible during normal business hours at their indicated address. If your organisation operates outside of typical business hours, you’ll need to engage a registered agent service.
Do you reside in another state? The agent for service of process for your nonprofit must be a resident of the state in which it is formed. If you do not live in California, you must employ a California agent for service of process to represent your organisation.
Is your charity now or will it be situated in many states? If your organisation now operates in many states or intends to do so in the future, you must select a registered agent in each state where it will do so. You must employ a registered agent service since you cannot be in two locations at the same time.
Will you continue to function without a physical address? If you want to run your charity entirely online or without a physical location, you will lack a business address to provide on your Articles of Incorporation and other crucial legal papers. Hiring a competent registered agent allows you to include their actual address on all papers.

How Do I Select an Agent for Process Service in California?

When you file your California nonprofit’s Articles of Incorporation, you must choose an agent for service of process. In California, the fundamental nonprofit creation document is the Articles of Incorporation.

Nominate an Agent for Process Service Online, via Mail, or in Person

Download Form ARTS-PB-501(c)(3) – Articles of Incorporation, fill it out completely, and send it (with with the $30 filing fee) to the California Secretary of State. This may be accomplished by posting a PDF version of the form online or by mailing or delivering the original form along with a copy.

In Article 3, you will provide the name and contact information for your process server’s agent.

How Do I Change My Nonprofit’s Process Server in California?

To lawfully alter the agent for service of process for your California nonprofit, add this change on your normal Form SI-100 – Statement of Information filing or submit a No Fee Statement version to the California Secretary of State. The charge for a standard Statement of Information is $20, however there is no fee for a Statement of Information used to alter an agent for service of process.


When you work at a charity, you have more essential things to worry about than monitoring the mail, submitting legal paperwork, and remembering compliance deadlines. That is what a process serving agent can accomplish for you. When you engage a professional registered agent service, you can put these responsibilities in their skilled hands and completely concentrate on what is most important to your firm.

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