If you want to help others, and start your own not for profit organization then these guidelines can help you. There are a lot of special requirements when you start a non-profit. Avoid some of the common pitfalls by following these steps:
Be sure that your business venture will actually fall into the category of a not for profit organization. A sandwich shop will probably not fall into this category. Not for profit organizations usually have the underlying goal of helping others.
Figure out your states requirements for filing. They vary from state to state so be sure to get a copy of the filing guideline. They can usually be found on your states website.
Read the guidelines completely. Many people skip over steps or sections that they feel do not apply to them. It is better to read everything then miss an important section.
Engage the services of an attorney. They can help you to create accurate and complete filing papers. They can also assist you in creating necessary board documents.
Find your board members if you have not done so already.
Find an approved accounting system. Financial filings for a non-profits are highly regulated. Your state department of commerce or an accountant can help you with this system.
File your papers and await state approval.