The Best Nonprofit Formation Services Available
Last Updated: By TRUiC Team
Need to form a nonprofit, but your budget doesn’t allow for hiring an attorney to handle the delicate legal matters and file important paperwork? Do you also currently lack the free time needed to personally ensure the complex nonprofit formation process is handled correctly (the first time)?
Thankfully, there are services to streamline the process of nonprofit formation and obtaining 501(c)(3) status, while also saving money and resources.
Below are the best nonprofit formation services available, briefly taking a look at what they offer and how to decide which service is the best fit for your mission.
Recommended Nonprofit Formation Service:
Northwest ($29 + State Fees)
1. Northwest Registered Agent - Starts at $29 (+ State Fees)
Northwest Registered Agent is an affordable nonprofit formation service that offers everything you need to start a 501c3 nonprofit organization. What seems to separate them from everything else is that they provide everything you would want or need in a nonprofit formation service for one low price.
- A fully-formed nonprofit organization (filing all paperwork with the state)
- A full-year of registered agent service included
- Professional business address
- Free mail forwarding service
- Won’t sell your data and fully protects your privacy
- Over 200 business experts to help you indefinitely
If you want the best nonprofit formation service that offers a complete solution package with everything you need for one affordable price, we recommend Northwest Registered Agent for starting a nonprofit.
2. Incfile - Starts at $0 (+ State Fees)
Incfile is the most affordable nonprofit formation service with a solid track record. Since 2004, they have formed over 150,000 businesses, earning an excellent customer feedback average of 4.8 out of 5 on ShopperApproved after 11,000+ reviews. Plus Incfile offers:
- Free Registered Agent service for one year (Required by State)
- Real-time Online Order Status Tracking
- Next-Day Order Processing
- Articles of Organization filing
- Unlimited name searches
If you want the most affordable nonprofit filing service that also offers generous features, we recommend Incfile to help form your nonprofit.
3. LegalZoom - Starts at $99 (+ State Fees)
LegalZoom is one of the biggest players in the business and nonprofit formation industry, with over 3 million customers served since 1999. They offer well-rounded packages with features that cater to a large variety of different nonprofits in all 50 states.
- Streamlined & Quick Step-By-Step Process
- 501(c)(3) Applications Completed for Additional $495
- Free & Helpful Resources like a “How to Form Your Nonprofit” Book
- Articles of Incorporation filing
- Nonprofit Corporation name availability check
LegalZoom also has a bunch of optional features that vary by levels of nonprofit formation service packages; a 3-month QuickBooks trial and expedited processing are two examples. The LegalZoom Express Gold package is quite literally a one-stop-shop option for $359 plus state filing fee.
4. Rocket Lawyer - Starts at $99.95 (+ State Fees)
With over 20 million customers since 2008, Rocket Lawyer is a well-oiled machine when it comes to helping you form a nonprofit. These are just the beginning below, but one thing to pay close attention to is their optional access to nonprofit-specific legal professionals who can answer questions for customers and help avoid pitfalls or delays.
- Phone Support Throughout Nonprofit Filing Process
- Ongoing Services for Nonprofit Bylaws and 501(c)(3) Exemptions
- Access to Business Attorneys and Nonprofit Attorneys
- Business name reservation
- Nonprofit paperwork filing
Additionally, Rocket Lawyer’s online legal services allow customers to enjoy discounts on nonprofit formation and other document filing services. We’ve worked with them a bunch over the last couple years and have nothing but good things to say about their speed, professionalism, and overall support.
Pros & Cons of Using a Nonprofit Filing Service
Pros of Using a Nonprofit Filing Service
- In general, their nonprofit formation processes are engineered for beginners so they’re user-friendly and easy to navigate. Any of the nonprofit registration services above can likely save you lots of time.
- While these business and nonprofit service providers aren’t law firms, they do offer tons of instructional and educational material, blank forms and customizable templates, along with customer support staff who you can contact in a variety of ways.
- Because these nonprofit filing services are the cream of the crop in this industry, they’re typically where the innovation and new services are coming from. They’re still growing and expanding every year to be more useful to customers forming a nonprofit.
- Most of the nonprofit formation providers on our list have optional upgraded services that you can choose to leverage or not, against simply getting stuck with a rigid package of bundled features that may not serve you.
Cons of Using a Nonprofit Filing Service
- If you don’t know what you need, and you don’t have traditional legal assistance, there’s a ton of pitfalls that can occur that these nonprofit formation providers may or may not be able to help with. Nonprofits can get complex fast. NONE of these services are technically better than a nonprofit law firm or specialist attorney to help you start a nonprofit.
Which Nonprofit Filing Service is Best?
At the end of the day, do what's right for your mission. Since forming a nonprofit is the most complicated entity, getting assistance from one of the nonprofit formation services above or an attorney is highly recommended.
If you’re still deciding, check out our full nonprofit reviews to focus in on your favorites. In general though, since Incfile offers the best overall pricing and features, we highly recommend their services when starting a nonprofit.