STEP 1) SECURE NON-PROFIT NAME

Choose a Business Name

To secure and register your non-profit name (in Step 5 when you file) it must be unique, not too similar to another registered name, and shouldn’t contain any restricted wording. To check, conduct a Business Entity Search and bookmark Article 60 in the state statutes for all the specifics.

Keep in mind your brand name should contain the words “incorporated,” “association,” “church,” “college,” “club,” “company,” “corporation,” “foundation,” “fund,” “institute,” “limited,” “society,” “syndicate,” “union,” or an abbreviation such as “co.,” “corp.,” “inc.,” and “ltd.” If needed, set up an account with the state to file a Temporary Reservation of Business Entity Name to reserve the name for 120 days.

Filing Fee: $35

STEP 2) APPOINT A REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered AgentA Kansas Registered Agent is required for “service of process” during incorporation and beyond, so it’s imperative that you meet all the state requirements for appointing/hiring one to be successful.

A registered agent in Kansas should be a person/citizen who lives in the state or a domestic/foreign business entity, provided that it’s legally registered to operate. You can hire an outside professional service and expect to pay up to $160/year, or get a registered agent free of charge when you incorporate through filing services like IncFile or BizFilings. They handle this and more depending on your startup package.

STEP 3) SELECT INCORPORATORS & DIRECTORS

Choose the Initial DirectorsBy definition, all an incorporator does is sign and “execute” the formal Articles of Incorporation and submit them to the state, which requires a minimum of one. As for your temporary directors, you’ll need to select/recruit a minimum of one. Among other important duties it’s their job to oversee the non-profit corporation/organization during the formation process until your first board meeting in Step 7 where official directors will be voted on/in.

If this is all brand new, be sure to print out a copy of section 17-6301 in the statutes which covers “Board of directors; powers; number; qualifications; quorum; committees; terms and classes of directors; reliance upon records and information provided; action of board without meeting; compensation; removal of director.”

STEP 4) DRAFT NON-PROFIT BYLAWS

Register an LLC

Incorporated non-profits need to have bylaws, or rules and regulations, that first and foremost determine how it’s governed. They also state the mission of the non-profit and steer it’s course. They’re essential! Common bylaws touch on topics like:

  • How meetings are to be conducted.
  • How new officers and directors are elected.
  • How voting takes place, disputes handled, and records kept/managed.
  • Adding/Amending bylaws (any changes must be reported to the IRS after incorporation).
  • How to handle other non-profit organization formalities in the state of Kansas.

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.

STEP 5) FILE ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION

Business Licenses

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:

  • The name, type, duration of existence, and statement of purpose (provisions for non-profit vs corp);
  • Complete names & addresses of registered agent (and office), incorporators, and directors.
  • Any specific provisions/bylaws set forth as part of the internal operations of your organization.
  • A stipulation of apportioning assets to any 501(c)(3) upon termination of your organization.

Filing Fee: $20 + optional $20 expedite fee

STEP 6) START A CORPORATE RECORDS BOOK

File Annual Reports & Publication Requirements

What we’re talking about here is a physical book, or some call it a binder, where you put copies of the most important documents that comprise your non-profit organization: formation/registration, core licenses & permits, minutes of meetings, big contracts, annual reports and taxation documents, etc.

To get one for your non-profit you can grab a quality records book at any nearby office supply store, order them online through Amazon, or get a professional Corporate Kit which let you brand the book/slip case, provide blank certificates, and more for as little as $99.

STEP 7) CONDUCT INITIAL MEETING

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of Directors

The first board of directors meeting is also known as the organizational meeting and one of the most important meetings that you can ever hold as a nonprofit. During the first meeting, the following agenda will be discussed:

  • Non-profit bylaws approval,
  • Appointment of officers,
  • Setting a non-profit accounting and tax period and,
  • Approval of initial transactions and application of a corporate bank account.

Prepare the minutes of the meeting and have it signed by all your board of directors. It must be recorded and kept in your Corporate Records Book for safekeeping. Also, bookmark “10 Responsibilities of Non-Profit Boards” from the Network Kansas blog because there’s some valuable information and links to great resources.

STEP 8) GET AN EIN

Get an EIN for Your LLC

An EIN, or Employer Identification Number, is required by both state and federal governments for essentially the same reasons individuals are required to have a SSN. It’s a nine-digit number that’s used to track business/non-profit financial activity and makes it possible to open a business bank account, hire paid-employees if needed, and so on.

Almost every transaction your non-profit engages in will require an EIN. That said, you can get one quickly, easily and free of charge by applying online through the IRS Website.

STEP 9) HANDLE LICENSING & EXEMPTIONS

Small Business Taxes

Now it’s time to ensure your non-profit is 100% compliant in terms of not only licenses/permits, but state and federal taxes. You should be able to apply for tax exempt status now that the corporation is established.

Two other great sites to bookmark so you can utilize all the many resources and networking potential is the state’s Business Center. Besides, non-profits and the business community work together in endless ways.

STEP 10) SETUP A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT

Best Business Bank Account

Since you’re here in this article right now chances are it’s your first time starting a non-profit organization, so you’re probably not aware of everything involved in the business-side of banking. Where you build your non-profit’s financial foundation is important – fees, withdrawal/deposit limits, accessibility, location, credit/debit incentives, online banking options, etc. Don’t just wing this or assume you should set up shop where you personally bank or where one of your officers/directors does.

If you’re interested, this article takes a good look at Non-Profit Checking Accounts and what makes them appealing for new blooming charitable corporations. Shop around!

OPTIONAL) WORK ON A FUND-READY PLAN

Write a Business Plan

Because of the nature of non-profits, truth is there’s some sort of planning in place. The question is how effective will it end up being a year from now? A year from now, how far will your current approach to non-profit planning (and execution) have gotten you and your board? How defined will your mission statement and outreach goals? How tight of a grasp on your fundamentals?

It’s never too early, or too late, to begin establishing a fund-ready plan you would proudly show to potential partners or donors. The process itself will open so many doors, and dramatically increase your awareness of your potential. If you need help with this, check out and grab our exclusive discount to LivePlan.

OPTIONAL) PUBLISH A RESPONSIVE WEBSITE

Build a Business Website

When a potential volunteer, donor, or investor searches the internet for your non-profit brand what will or do they find? The very worst thing that can happen these days is that they don’t find anything at all. What would you think of a non-profit if they didn’t have at bare minimum a responsive one-pager explaining who they are, what they’re about, what they’re doing, and a simple way to contact/engage them?

Those are the basics of what a non-profit website is for, along with direct sales if you’re into you’re raising money, but you get the idea. With options like Wix, Jimdo and Weebly it’s never been easier or less expensive to begin building a digital presence for your organization.

Need Help Forming Your Organization?

Have a reliable non-profit filing service like Swyft Filings or LegalZoom do the work for you. Just answer a few questions about your organization and they’ll take care of the paperwork.

Visit Swyft Filings Or Visit LegalZoom

Note that this article on how to form a non-profit organization in Kansas 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 Kansas or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.