Naming your non-profit should be fun! That said, there are some rules, for example these three as per ID Code § 30-21-302 (2015):
Be sure to conduct a Business Entity Search. through the state to confirm no naming conflicts. When it’s available, you can also file an Application for Reservation of Legal Entity Name to reserve the name for 120 days.
Filing Fee: $20-$60
An Idaho Registered Agent (also referred to as a legal appointee or statutory agent) can be an individual resident/citizen of the state or a legally registered domestic/foreign business entity with a physical street address and regular M-F business hours. On behalf of your non-profit they receive and help process critical paperwork like tax or legal notices and so on.
That said, you can hire a 3rd party professional and expect to pay up to $160/year, or get a qualified agent free of charge when you start a non-profit through IncFile or Incorporate.com. They handle this along with much more depending on your startup package.
Incorporators are simply individuals who are tasked with “executing” the Articles of Incorporation (signing/filing them) with the state of Idaho. Directors on the other hand have much more responsibility if you intend on running your non-profit by board vs. through members or through volunteers alone.
You’ll need a minimum of 3 initial directors (1 for religious) to oversee the non-profit until the initial board meeting has been held in Step 7 and official directors are voted on/in. Also, remember that in Idaho your initial directors will be listed in your Articles when you file. If you need help with this part, please work with a qualified lawyer or incorporation service and bookmark the Idaho Board of Directors guide PDF.
Bylaws are the rules/stipulations/regulations you write for how your non-profit will be governed and managed along with the many other formalities that come along with having a board of directors vs a non-profit that’s run expressly by members or volunteers. Common bylaws cover topics like:
If this is all new to you, use this savvy Corporate Bylaws Template which you can customize for your non-profit and get an idea of the paperwork-side of bylaws. Be sure to bookmark the statutes 30-3-21 concerning bylaws so you know the legal requirements as well.
Once you and your team decide it’s time to form and fully incorporate in the eyes of the law/public record, file your non-profit Articles of Incorporation with the Sec. of State either through mail or online. Information you’ll need includes:
Filing Fee: $30 + optional $20 expedite fee
What we’re referring to here is a physical, often very nice looking “book” or binder where copies of all the most critical pieces of paperwork are kept and managed. And yes, that’s along with the many modern ways of tracking and compiling information on your non-profit. They’re somewhat of a corporate formality, but extremely common and highly-advised.
You can pick one up at pretty much any office supply store or online through Amazon of course, but we’re huge fans of savvy-sleek Corporate Kits which include gorgeous records books, binders, blank certificates and more which you can brand for as little as $99.
Also called the Organizational Meeting, the first meeting of the board of directors marks the beginning of your Idaho non-profit. In this meeting, you must decide on important matters including:
Make sure that you prepare the minutes of the meeting; your attending board of directors will need to sign the document. If needed, check out this great Corporate Minutes Template which you can customize.
You have a social security number, right? An EIN, or Employer Identification Number, is exactly like it except for business entities and non-profit organizations. The state/federal government uses it to track your financial activity, but beyond that you’ll be able to use your EIN to set up a business bank account in Step 10, hire paid-employees if applicable to your initiative, and more.
While there are a number of ways to get yours, it’s quick, easy and free of charge when you do it through the IRS Website.
First, bookmark the Starting a Nonprofit page through Idaho Non-Profits that lists the many parts/resources in this step. It’s essential your non-profit be 100% compliant in terms of not only licenses/permits, but state and federal taxes.
Hopefully during your initial board meeting you and your directors set aside time to really understand how important this decision is, namely where your non-profit will bank. How familiar are you with non-profit banking on the corporate level? Are you already aware of the many business services, varying fee structures, and incentives?
Don’t take this lightly. There are plenty of large and small local, state, and national banks as well as credit unions to choose from. Don’t just assume the mainstream banks are the best because they’re the biggest. There’s a lot of variables to consider here, so to get your research going check out this brief breakdown of Non-Profit Accounts to gain a better understanding.
No matter what stage of non-profit development you’re in, if you plan on going “all the way” then you’re going to need to get down to some basics and plan accordingly. No serious initiative gets to extreme heights of impact without a game plan. That’s the honest truth.
What does this mean? It means a presentation/fund-ready plan that focuses on core fundamentals for the purpose of showing VC-types, lending institutions, potential partners, volunteers, donators, etc. Feel free to use LivePlan and the special discount they offer our readers to your non-profit’s advantage.
Start small, simple, and responsive then build over time only as your non-profit needs grow. Don’t spend $4000 on a site when you have no funding. Ideally, use volunteers and funding to build from a basic landing page or agency-style site into something much more extensive.
It’s about marketing potential. It’s about brand expansion. It’s about amazing impact and giving search engines a way to show your project or initiative to the world. If this is your first web design rodeo, consider using a website builder like Wix or Weebly, which completely simplify the process. Both are really easy to use and affordable.
Note that this article on how to form a non-profit organization in Idaho isn’t a legal document or legal advice. It’s for informational purposes and the information above is subject to change. For specific legal questions regarding how to form a non-profit organization in Idaho or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.