How to File the Articles of Organization for a Massachusetts Nonprofit

Person submitting paperwork.

Starting a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in Massachusetts is easy, just follow these easy steps to file the Massachusetts Articles of Organization:

If you are starting a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in Massachusetts, you have come to the right place. After reading the comprehensive guide for Massachusetts nonprofit formation, follow this guide to file the Massachusetts Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State.

What is covered in this guide:

  1. Information you will need to file the Massachusetts Articles of Organization
  2. How to file the Massachusetts Articles of Organization
  3. Massachusetts Nonprofit Formation FAQ

Information you will need to file the Massachusetts Articles of Organization

Here are the sections that you will need to complete:

Article 1: Corporate Name

Enter the name you have selected for your organization.

For help with selecting a name for your nonprofit read our comprehensive guide on how to name a Massachusetts nonprofit.

Article 2: Purpose

Describe the purpose of your nonprofit organization.

In order to qualify for 501(c)(3) status, the organization’s purpose must explicitly be limited to one or more of the following:

  • Charitable
  • Religious
  • Educational
  • Scientific
  • Literary
  • Testing for public safety
  • Fostering national/international amateur sports competition
  • Preventing cruelty to animals/children

NOTE: You can read the IRS guidelines to learn more.

Article 3: Members

Describe whether or not your organization will have members.

If there will be members you can include details about the different categories of members and any rules governing them.

You are not required to go into detail here since those details will be covered in the organization’s bylaws.

Article 4: Other Lawful Provisions

You must include provisions ensuring that in the event your organization is dissolved, the assets of the organization will be used towards tax-exempt purposes.

Section 5 of this sample document provides an example of these provisions required for 501(c)(3) eligibility.

Article 5: Bylaws & Officers

This article is to state that the organization has already adopted its bylaws and elected key officers such as directors, president, and treasurer. These should have all been covered during your organizational meeting.

Article 6: Effective Date of Organization

This section allows you to determine when you want your nonprofit corporation to officially form.

Typically the corporation forms on the date it is approved by the Secretary of the Commonwealth but you can choose a different date up to 30 days after the date of filing.

Article 7a: Office Address

Enter the office address for your organization.

Article 7b: Effectiveness of Filing

Enter the name, home address and post office address (if applicable) of each director and officer of the organization.

Article 7c: Fiscal Year

Indicate when the fiscal (tax) year will end for your organization.

NOTE: Most organizations pick December 31st

Article 7d: Resident Agent Information

Enter information about the registered agent you have appointed.

For more information read our guide: What is a registered agent? and The Massachusetts Registered Agent Guide.

Execution

When you fill in the contact information, sign, and date the form, you are acting as the incorporator and affirming everything written in the form. The person acting as the incorporator does not need to be a director, officer, or member of the nonprofit.

How to file the Massachusetts Articles of Organization

There are two ways to submit your Articles of Organization: online or by mail.

Online:

File the Articles of Organization through the Secretary of State’s online portal.

By Mail:

Submit the Articles of Organization form to:

Secretary of State
Corporations Division
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
One Ashburton Place, 17th Floor
Boston, MA 02108

The filing fee by mail is $35, and the online filing fee is $40.

Massachusetts Nonprofit Formation FAQ

How long does it take to process the Massachusetts Articles of Organization?

If filed online, it typically takes about 2 business days to hear back from the state. If you file by mail, you can expect a response in 2-4 business days.

How do I contact the Secretary of State for more information?

You can call for information at (617) 727-2850 or visit them at their website.

State of Massachusetts Nonprofit Resources