How to File the Articles of Incorporation for a North Carolina Nonprofit

Filing the Articles of Incorporation is a critical step in starting a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit in North Carolina. 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 North Carolina. 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 North Carolina is easy, just follow these easy steps to file the North Carolina Articles of Incorporation:

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

What is covered in this guide:

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

Information you will need to file the North Carolina Articles of Incorporation

To become a nonprofit corporation in North Carolina you must file N-01, the Articles of Incorporation for nonprofit.

Here are the sections that you will need to complete:

Section 1: Name

Enter the name you have selected.

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

Section 2: Exempt Status

Describe the purpose of your nonprofit organization.

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

and that in the event your organization is dissolved, the assets of the organization will be used towards tax-exempt purposes.

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

Section 3: Registered Agent

The registered agent can be any entity registered to do business in North Carolina or any person who is a resident of the state.

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 NA-01.

Enter the information of the registered agent you have selected.

For more information read our guide: What is a registered agent? And The North Carolina Registered Agent Guide.

Section 4: Registered Office

The registered office is the physical address in North Carolina where your registered agent can be reached during regular business hours. This CANNOT be a P.O. Box; it must be a street address.

Section 5: Incorporators

Enter the name and address of at least one incorporator. This person will be in charge of signing the Articles of Incorporation on the nonprofit’s behalf.

Section 6: Membership

Select the appropriate box depending on whether or not your nonprofit corporation plans to have members.

Section 7: Dissolution

For this section, you need to attach a document that details how the nonprofit’s assets will be distributed in case the organization is dissolved. If you plan to file for 501(c)(3) status, you must include IRS-specific language. See form N-14 or this sample document for sample provisions.

Section 8: Supplemental Provisions

The section is optional.

Section 9: Principal Office Location

In this section, you must provide the physical street address and phone number of the nonprofit’s physical office location. If there will be a separate mailing address for the nonprofit, you can enter that information in this section too.

Section 10: Listing of Officers

Although it isn’t required, you may want to include the name, address, and title of your nonprofit’s officers.

Section 11: Email

Although it isn’t required, you may want to include an email address for your business. This information won’t be made public, but will be used by the Secretary of State to confirm receipt of your form and to protect against fraudulent filings.

Section 12: Effective Date

This section allows you to determine the date on which your nonprofit corporation officially forms.

Option A = your organization will officially form on the day the Secretary of State files your certificate of formation. Leave this section blank if you want to choose Option A.

Option B = you select the date of formation (it can be any day up to 90 days after filing).

Section 13: Execution

When you sign and date the form you are affirming everything written in the form.

How to file the North Carolina Articles of Incorporation

There are 3 ways to submit your Articles of Incorporation: online, by mail, or in-person.


You can upload your Articles of Incorporation for Nonprofit through the Secretary of State’s online portal.

By Mail:

Submit the Articles of Incorporation to the mailing address below:

Business Registration Division
P.O. Box 29622
Raleigh, NC 27262-0622

In Person:

You may submit the Articles of Incorporation to the office address below: 

Business Registration Division
2 South Salisbury Street
Raleigh, NC 27601

Available Hours: 8am-5pm (excluding weekends and holidays). 

The filing fee of $60 may be paid in two ways:

  1. Personal checks made out to NC Secretary of State
  2. Credit Card - if you file online. This method will incur a $2 convenience fee.

North Carolina Nonprofit Formation FAQ

How long does it take to process Form N-01?

It typically takes 1-2 weeks to process your filing. Contact the Secretary of State if you need to expedite your filing.

How do I contact the Secretary of State?

You can call for information at (919) 814-5400 or visit them at their website.