Form a Nebraska Non-Profit organization yourself with our simple step-by-step guide that’s free and easy!
IncFile and LegalZoom are both reliable services that take care of all legal paperwork on your behalf.IncFile ($99 + State Fee) LegalZoom ($99 + State Fee)
There’s a handful of things you need to know as you start tackling your non-profit organization’s name. First, it must be unlike any other registered name with the state – conduct a Corporate Entity Search to see if there are any naming conflicts. Also, the name can’t be deceptive and imply your non-profit does anything other than what you’ll state in your Articles of Incorporation in Step 5.
If you want to read through the codes yourself, see 21-1391 in the NE Non-Profit Corporation Act. If needed, and once you know the name is available, you can file an Application for Reservation of Corp Name through postal mail that’s good for 120 days.
Filing Fee: $30
All non-profit entities need to have a registered agent for essentially one reason – so they can’t say, “We never received that document.” to any state or federal agency. It will be your agent’s responsibility to officially receive and provide “Service of Process” to all state filings, tax documents, legal notices, and so on. This is why they must have a NE address, be registered/certified with the state, and hold regular M-F business hours.
That said, you can work with a professional and expect to pay up to $160/yr, or get a qualified agent free when you start a non-profit through IncFile or CorpNet. They handle this along with much more depending on which startup package you opt for.
Nebraska requires a minimum of 1 incorporator – the individual(s) responsible for executing (signing/filing) the Non-Profit Articles of Incorporation with the state in Step 5. Pretty straightforward. However, if your non-profit will be governed by a Board of Directors vs. members things can get more interesting.
A minimum of 3 initial directors must be recruited to oversee the non-profit while it’s being formed, then when you conduct your initial meeting in Step 7 directors are voted on/in. If possible it’s a good idea to either hire the best non-profit lawyer you can afford or partner with professional incorporation services who can provide expert assistance in terms of incorporators and directors.
An incorporated non-profit needs to have bylaws, or rules and regulations, that first and foremost determine how it’s governed. They’re the foundation of your internal culture, and if they aren’t in place default state guidelines takeover. They should include:
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.
Unlike most other states, Nebraska has no official template for their Articles of Incorporation. What you can do though is use this Example Form, or something similar, to build a basic framework and use the official State Statutes to know what’s required. When in doubt, contact a non-profit attorney or incorporation service who are familiar with the process in Nebraska.
In essence once your incorporators execute this form with the state, in the eyes of the law your non-profit is formed. That said, be sure you’re ready and be absolutely sure you have everything filled out before submitting in-person, via mail, or Online Filing portal.
Filing Fee: $10 + $5/page recording fee
Aside your digital data storage, this is a physical book or binder where you put copies of the most important documents that comprise your non-profit organization: formation/registration, core licenses & permits, minutes of meetings, huge 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.
For your first meeting assemble incorporators/directors and get ready to establish the foundation of your non-profit. Be sure to record “minutes” of the meeting and all attendees and have it signed by directors for your records book. Topics you’ll cover will vary but should include:
If you found the bylaws template useful, check out a similar Corporate Minutes Template you can also customize and use to provide initial structure until you and your board get the hang of things should it be necessary.
An EIN is a federal “Employer” Identification Number but your non-profit is required to have one even if you don’t plan on hiring any official employees. The 9-digit number, similar to a social security number, is used to track your non-profits financial activity once you use it to set up a bank account in Step 10.
Because it’s needed by every legal business entity in America, they’re not hard to get. The quickest and easiest way is by submitting a request directly through the IRS Website.
Now’s the point 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.
A couple other amazing websites to tap into would be the Omaha office of the Small Business Administration and Sec. of State’s Business Services because they’re connected throughout the state and provide access to tons of financial resources you can leverage.
Take some time to shop around and see which bank/credit union has the most convenience and perks to offer your organization. Don’t assume where you or any of your directors bank personally is the ideal choice. How’s their online banking? What are their free deposit/withdrawal limits? How high are their monthly fees? What kinds of incentives do they specifically offer non-profits?
Where you choose to bank is important so don’t take it lightly. If this will be your first time setting up shop, a) check out this quick breakdown of Non-Profit Accounts, and b) make sure to keep this account completely separate from all other accounts. Don’t muddy the pristine water of your financials.
It’s common to “wing it” during the initial bootstrapping phases of starting a non-profit which tend to be fast and furious. Goals and objectives are immediate and close to home. But don’t forget to think forward a bit, into the possibly near future where outside funding and attracting partners, donators, and volunteers will require something more official and concise.
To be taken seriously with non-profit organizations, angel funds, or VCs you’ll need an very well-organized mission statement and plans on how you aim to achieve it. You’ll need to show them structured financials and forecasts. You’ll need to have serious outreach methods and other important core fundamentals figured out. Learn more through our free resources below.
QUICK LINKS TO NON-PROFIT PLANNING
From astonishing outreach/marketing potential to ecommerce and crowd funding, non-profit websites aren’t optional anymore. Not as far as we can tell anyway. The issue is if you don’t have an in-house designer you trust, and this is your first rodeo, what do you do? Where can you turn that isn’t a time-sink and a drain on your budget?
These days platforms like Wix and SquareSpace have a lot to offer. And let’s not forget about WordPress which is still one of the mighty titans of the digital world. Don’t worry, websites don’t need to be as complex as they once were. The internet’s changing. To see what we mean, if you’re just beginning this journey check out the WebsiteSetup.org team’s take on how to manage the process.
Note that this article on how to start a non-profit organization in Nebraska 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 start a non-profit organization in Nebraska or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.