What are Non-Profit Articles of Incorporation?

Felicia Dye
Felicia Dye
Businessman with a briefcase
Businessman with a briefcase

Non-profit articles of incorporation is a document that provides information about a business. The details included in this document generally include the business' address, the method of electing officers, and its purpose for existing. Drafting of the articles of incorporation is usually required if a non-profit organization wants to become incorporated.

The non-profit articles of incorporation is a legal document generally filed with a bureau, such as the Department of State, in the state where the business will be principally located. This normally requires the payment of a fee, which can greatly vary depending on where the document is filed. In addition to money, there are usually requirements regarding the contents of the articles of incorporation. There is generally no harm done, however, if additional information is included.

This document is important enough that non-profit organizations are often advised to either have an attorney draft the document or to have one review it before it is submitted. Any organizations that choose to draft non-profit articles of incorporation on their own may find it helpful to know that both templates and instructions for each state are usually available on the Internet.

The non-profit articles of incorporation act in a similar capacity for a business as a constitution acts for a nation. To begin with, it generally provides the most basic information about the organization. This includes the non-profit's name, logo, and contact details.

In most states, a registered agent must be named and contact details must be provided for her. The registered agent is an individual who can be served with official documents. The name of the incorporator is usually needed, as well as the names of board members and officers. In some jurisdictions it is necessary to provide the positions and contact details for these individuals.

A non-profit organization is supposed to be a benefit to society, so the purpose for which the organization exists must also generally be disclosed. A very important purpose that this document usually serves is helping an organization obtain state and federal tax-exempt designations. For this to happen, it is necessary for the document to include certain disclaimers. These are statements in which the organization vows not to engage in certain types of behavior. It is important to note that the non-profit articles of incorporation may not be suitable for all non-profits, as it is for both state and federal submission.

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