How to File the Articles of Incorporation for a South Dakota Nonprofit

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

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

What is covered in this guide:

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

Information you will need to file the South Dakota Articles of Incorporation

To become a nonprofit corporation in South Dakota you must file the Articles of Incorporation - Domestic Nonprofit Corporation.

Here are the sections that you will need to complete.

Article 1: Entity 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 South Dakota nonprofit.

Article 1A: Purpose

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

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

Article 2: Period of Existence

Most organizations are started with no end date in mind.

Your nonprofit’s period of duration will be considered perpetual unless you check the appropriate box to indicate if your nonprofit will cease to exist on a specific date.

Article 3: Membership

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

Article 4: Principal Office

Provide the complete address of the principal office of your nonprofit.

Article 5: Registered Agent and Registered Office

The registered agent can be any entity registered to do business in South Dakota 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 articles of incorporation.

Enter the information of the registered agent you have selected.

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

Article 6: Incorporator(s)

The incorporator is the person who completes, signs, and submits the articles of incorporation. This person does not need to be a part of your organization. This can be you or a lawyer helping you with the process of formation. Enter the name and street address of each incorporator.

Article 7: Initial Board of Directors

At least 3 directors will need to be named and you will need to provide a street address for each director named.

Enter the information of the directors selected.

Article 8: Classification of Members

If your nonprofit will have different classifications of members, provide details in this section.

Article 9: Election of Director

If the nonprofit’s directors will not be elected or appointed by its members, provide details about how they will be elected or appointed.

Article 10: 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.


When you sign and date the form you are affirming everything written in the form. You are also affirming that the registered agent listed has already consented to be the registered agent for this nonprofit organization.

How to file the South Dakota Articles of Incorporation

You must submit your Articles of Incorporation by mail.

Submit two copies of the Articles of Incorporation — the original plus a copy — to the address below:

Secretary of State Office
500 E Capitol Ave
Pierre, SD 57501

The filing fee is $30.

  • Checks and money orders must be made payable to the "Secretary of State"

South Dakota Nonprofit Formation FAQ

How long does it take to process the Articles of Incorporation?

It can take anywhere from 3-7 business days to process your Articles of Incorporation.

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

You can call for information at (605) 773-4845 or visit them at their website.