How to Start a Nonprofit in Maryland
you dedicated and passionate about certain causes that affect you and your
community? Are you highly organized and
ready to put in the time, effort, and money to give even more back to your
community? You might be ready to
consider starting a nonprofit organization.
this guide, "starting a nonprofit" means that you want to form a 501(c)(3)public charity. The websites below will
assist you in starting a nonprofit in Maryland, or finding alternatives to
starting a nonprofit.
Before starting a nonprofit, do your homework:
- Nonprofit Research: Before starting the
steps and paying the fees to start a nonprofit, search through Guidestar’s
nonprofit organization search and identify similar nonprofits in your
- Choose a name: Make sure your name hasn't already been registered by another group using the IRS Exempt Organizations Select Check.
- Have a purpose: Every
nonprofit should have a purpose, and this is done with a mission
statement. There is no set formula for writing
a mission statement, but Idealist.org has an article on what a mission statement should say.
Checklist for starting a nonprofit:
If you are not ready to start your own nonprofit, you might want to think about Fiscal Sponsorship.
Fiscal Sponsorship is a formal arrangement in which a 501(c)(3) public charity sponsors a project that may lack exempt status. This alternative to starting your own nonprofit allows you to seek grants and solicit tax-deductible donations under your sponsor's exempt status.
If you find there are other nonprofits already doing what you want to do, here are a few suggestions:
- Volunteer or work for an existing nonprofit that shares your
- Find a nonprofit with a similar mission that will act as
your fiscal sponsor. This arrangement may help you become eligible for more
funding opportunities without needing to obtain your own exempt status.
- Start a for-profit, small business.
Ready to form a nonprofit?
Learn how to form a Maryland nonprofit at the Maryland Charitable Organization Division. Information on registering a charity includes the Registration
Statement for Charitable Organizations (COR-92) and Annual Update charity forms.
a Board of Directors that includes information on board structure, board officers, and board
- Complete and File Form 1023 for federal tax exemption.
- Fill out Articles
of Incorporation for a tax-exempt nonprofit corporation. Complete this form for Maryland
state tax exemption.
- Apply for an Employer
Identification Number (EIN).The EIN is similar to a Social
Security Number, but it is for your nonprofit organization.
Finally, continue to find the information needed to start and run a nonprofit organization:
Center’s Nonprofit Startup Resources by State provides links to
helpful state and national resources such as Harbor Compliance's How to Start a Non-Profit Organization in Maryland, nonprofit associations, legal support
organizations and government agencies. If you intent to solicit funds from other states, you need to register in each one. Harbor Compliance also has a Fundraising Compliance Guide with more information.
How Do I
Start a Nonprofit Organization guide includes online training
and websites about nonprofit start-up.
& Associates’ Nonprofit
Law Resource Library includes information on: nonprofit start-up issues, state filing and compliance, state statutes,
international activities, governance and board questions, mergers and affiliations,
nonprofit entrepreneurship, and charitable contributions.
Community Law Center, a nonprofit law firm, provides legal services throughout Maryland to promote stronger nonprofits and more vibrant neighborhoods.
If You Need More Help
Contact us through our Ask A Librarian Service or
Science and History Department
Pratt Free Library
State Library Resource Center
Or, if you are outside of Maryland, contact your local library.