Step 1) Secure Nonprofit Name
To secure and register your nonprofit 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
Quick Note: Before you commit 100% to a name, you may also want to check that there’s a decent URL available for your business. Use GoDaddy to search your options. If there’s a quality domain name for purchase, we advise buying it right away.
Even if launching a business website isn’t on your radar right now, it’s going to be soon, and you might as well nail down a domain name that’ll make it easy for customers to find you!
Step 2) Appoint A Registered Agent
A 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. They handle this and more depending on your startup package.
Step 3) Select Incorporators & Directors
By 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 nonprofit 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 Nonprofit Bylaws
Incorporated nonprofits need to have bylaws, or rules and regulations, that first and foremost determine how it’s governed. They also state the mission of the nonprofit 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 nonprofit 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 nonprofit and get an idea of the paperwork-side of bylaws.
Step 5) File Articles Of Incorporation
Once you and your team decide it’s time to form and fully incorporate in the eyes of the law/public record, file your nonprofit 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 nonprofit 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.
Filing Fee: $20 + optional $20 expedite fee
Step 6) Start A Corporate Records Book
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 nonprofit organization: formation/registration, core licenses & permits, minutes of meetings, big contracts, annual reports and taxation documents, etc.
To get one for your nonprofit 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
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:
- Nonprofit bylaws approval,
- Appointment of officers,
- Setting a nonprofit 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 Nonprofit Boards" from the Network Kansas blog because there's some valuable information and links to great resources.
Step 8) Get An EIN
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/nonprofit financial activity and makes it possible to open a business bank account, hire paid-employees if needed, and so on.
Almost every transaction your nonprofit 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.