Step 1) Select a Name for Your Non-Profit

Choose a Business NameYour first order of business when forming a Non-Profit in Arkansas is to select a name for your corporation.

Make sure the name of the Non-Profit is unique, as the state of Arkansas does not allow identical names to be used.  Your business name should contain any of the following words: ‘Incorporated’, ‘Limited’, or ‘Corporation’.

After you’ve selected a name, use the Arkansas name database tool to make sure your name is available.


Step 2) Select the Founding Board of Directors

Choose the Initial DirectorsBefore the first annual shareholder’s meeting, you must select the founding board of directors for your Non-Profit Corporation.

In the state of Arkansas, a minimum of three directors is required in order to incorporate.


Step 3) File Your Company’s Articles of Organization

How to Choose a Business StructureNext, file the Articles of Organization to the Secretary of State. When registering as an Arkansas Non-Profit organization, the following information is required:

For easier filing, download the Articles of Organization form for Non-profits in Arkansas. To receive a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status, it is imperative that you include statements bequeathing your assets to another Non-Profit organization should your non-profit be dissolved.


Step 4) Create Corporate Bylaws for your Non-Profit Corporation

Register an LLCCorporate bylaws are not included when filing your Articles of Incorporation for a Non-Profit organization.  These are included in your company’s internal operating guide.

Corporate Bylaws enumerate the governing policies related to your business operations.  Creating corporate bylaws is highly recommended!


Step 5) Conduct a Meeting with your Founding Board of Directors

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of DirectorsDuring this first meeting (also know as your organizational meeting), you and your board of directors will discuss the following items:

The agenda should be recorded in the minutes of the meeting with all board members affixing their signature.


Step 6) Create a Corporate Records Binder to Hold All Corporate Records

File Annual Reports & Publication RequirementsYou must have a Corporate Record Binder to assist in running your Non-Profit Organization.

All important documentations related to your Non-Profit organization’s activities should be contained in this binder.  Items may include the minutes of your meetings to various corporate forms. You can buy a Corporate Record Binder directly from Amazon.


Step 7) Acquire an Employer Identification Number for Your Organization

Get an EIN for Your LLCAn Arkansas Non-Profit EIN is a requirement for your Non-Profit organization.

An Employer Identification Number is your unique identification used for all business operations. There are several ways to obtain an EIN.  The easiest way is to complete a free online application.


Step 8) Open a Business Bank Account

Best Business Bank AccountNext create a separate bank account for your non-profit.  This is important because all assets must be separate in the eyes of the law.

There are many options for opening a business checking account, such as Citibank and Chase.  To check out some of our favorites, see this review.


Step 9) Apply for State and Federal Tax Exemptions

Small Business Taxes

Congratulations! You have created your Corporation. It’s time to work on your Non-Profit tax registration. Here’s how to do it.

  1. File Form 1023 for your Federal Tax Exemption

The federal tax exemption status can be done by filing Form 1023, Application for the Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Pay careful attention to fill out each entry correctly on this long and detailed form. A line-by-line completion guide can be found this NOLO guide.

Smaller non-profit corporations may be eligible for Form 1023-EZ.   This form is simpler and shorter than the 1023. To be eligible for this form, your corporation must have annual gross receipts below $50,000 and entire assets below $250,000.

  1. File for Arkansas Tax Exemption

Once you have filed your Form 1023 or 1023-EZ, next file for an Arkansas state tax exemption.  There are several tax exemptions that a Non-Profit in Arkansas may qualify for.  Contact an Arkansas Tax Agency to obtain the required forms to qualify for state tax exemptions.

  1. Additional State Report and Registration Obligations

In addition to the two applications listed above, you may also register for fundraising activities through the state.  A need to apply for fundraising activities will depend on the type of Non-Profit organization and the size of your business.

Once you have registered for Non-Profit taxes and exemptions, you may now proceed to the next step.


Step 10) Handle Your Arkansas Business Licenses & Regulations

Business LicensesWhen starting a business, you are required to comply with the appropriate business licenses and regulations. These licenses are set at the local, state, and federal levels, and depend on a number of factors.

For more information visit the SBA. You may also use this reliable service to find professionals who specialize in identifying your required business licenses and regulations.


To-Do After Starting an

Arkansas Non-Profit

You are making great progress! You have followed the steps above and are now a Non-Profit organization in the state of Arkansas.  Here are 2 additional steps based on best practice that will help build a successful organization. They are not required, but are highly recommended based on experience.

1) Plan your Arkansas Non-Profit Organization for Success

Write a Business PlanA business plan is your business’ lifeline.  While the law does not mandate that you have one, it is a document that you should never miss when starting a Non-Profit organization.

A good business plan outlines the basics of your business and provide a concrete framework to prove that your business will be successful. Use the two links  below to help you write an effective business plan.

Quick Links for Writing a Business Plan


2) Build a Business Website

Build a Business Website

To compete with other existing business, you must have a business website. Instead of hiring an expensive designer, start a website on WordPress.

Bluehost uses a one-click-to-install option that the non-tech savvy entrepreneur can do independently. Get started with this simple guide.

This article is an informational guide, so should you have questions about starting a Non-Profit Organization in Arkansas or in general, starting a new business, you should take this up with your lawyer.

Need Help Forming Your Organization?

Have a reliable incorporation service like IncFile or LegalZoom do the work for you. Just answer a few questions about your organization and they’ll take care of the paperwork.

Visit IncFile Or Visit LegalZoom