How to File the Articles of Incorporation for an Illinois Nonprofit

Filing the Articles of Incorporation is a critical step in starting a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit in Illinois. Whether you have been running a charity for a while or are just starting out, your nonprofit organization will need to fill out the Articles of Incorporation and file them with the State of Illinois. This will allow you to file for 501(c)(3) status and reap the benefits of having an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

Want to form a nonprofit elsewhere? Check out our other How to Start a Nonprofit guides.

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Starting a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in Illinois is easy, just follow these easy steps to file the Illinois Articles of Incorporation:

If you are starting a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in Illinois, you have come to the right place. After reading the comprehensive guide for Illinois nonprofit formation, follow this guide to file the Illinois Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State.

What is covered in this guide:

  1. Information you will need to file the Illinois Articles of Incorporation
  2. How to file the Illinois Articles of Incorporation
  3. Illinois Nonprofit Formation FAQ

Information you will need to file the Illinois Articles of Incorporation

To become a nonprofit corporation in Illinois you must file Form NFP 102.10, the Not-For-Profit Articles of Incorporation.

Here are the sections that you will need to complete.

Article 1: Corporate Name

Enter the name you have selected.

For help with selecting a name for your nonprofit read our comprehensive guide on how to name an Illinois nonprofit.

Article 2: Registered Agent & Registered Office

The registered agent can be any entity registered to do business in Illinois or any person who is a resident of the state. Your organization cannot act as its own registered agent.

Any person you designate as the registered agent must have already explicitly consented to act as the registered agent for your organization even though you do not need to include proof of consent with your Form NFP 102.10.

Enter the information of the registered agent you have selected.

For more information read our guide: What is a registered agent? and The Illinois Registered Agent Guide.

Article 3: Management

At least 3 directors will need to be named.

When filling the form do not use any prefixes such as “Mr.” or “Ms.” and only use the suffix box for titles of lineage such as ‘Jr.’, ‘Sr.’, or ‘III’ but not for designations such as M.D. or Ph.D.

Since this document will become public record you may want to use a post office box address rather than the residential addresses of the directors to maintain privacy.

Enter the information of the directors selected.

Article 4: Purpose

Describe the purpose of your nonprofit organization and additional provisions.

In order to qualify for 501(c)(3) status, the organization’s purpose must explicitly be limited to one or more of the following:

  • Charitable
  • Religious
  • Scientific
  • Literary
  • Testing for public safety
  • Fostering national/international amateur sports competition
  • Preventing cruelty to animals/children

NOTE: You can read the IRS guidelines on their website.

In addition, check the appropriate box (Article 4 continued) to provide additional details about the purpose of your organization.

Article 5: Supplemental Provisions/Information

Use this section of the articles of formation to formally state what the assets of the organization will be used for, and what will happen to the assets if the organization is dissolved.

To be eligible for 501(c)(3) status, you must convince the IRS that the organization’s assets will always only be used for the purposes approved under 501(c)(3) rules. To this end, you must include provisions ensuring that in the event your organization is dissolved, the assets of the organization will be used towards tax-exempt purposes.

Section 5 of this sample document provides an example of these provisions required for 501(c)(3) eligibility.

Article 6: Organizer

The incorporators are the people who complete, sign, and submit the certification of formation. These people do not need to be a part of your organization. Enter your incorporators names, addresses, and have them sign the form.

Return To:

Provide a return address.

How to file the Illinois Articles of Incorporation

There are two ways to submit your Articles of Incorporation:


File the Articles of Incorporation through the Secretary of State’s online portal.

By Mail:

Submit the Articles of Incorporation to the mailing address below:

Secretary of State
Department of Business Services
501 S. Second St., Rm. 350
Springfield, IL 62756

The filing fee is $50.

  • Checks and money orders for mailed forms must be made payable to the "Secretary of State"
  • Accepted credit cards for online filing include Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express

Illinois Nonprofit Formation FAQ

How long does it take to process NFP 102.10 by mail?

It typically takes about 30 business days. You can pay an expedite fee of $25 for a 24-hour turnaround if you deliver your request in person to the Springfield or Chicago offices.

How do I contact the Secretary of State for more information?

You can call for information at (217) 782-62756 or visit them at their website.