How to Become a Charity Organization

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Registering your charity is the first step in starting a charitable organization.
Registering your charity is the first step in starting a charitable organization. (Image: Donations image by Rebs O from Fotolia.com)

Creating a proper charitable organization includes registering your group to make it official and recognized by the government. This step can be beneficial to your charity because it makes you eligible for certain tax relief programs and assistance from the federal government. Donors may also turn to you more quickly if you are a certified organization, because they can be assured that your charity will use their donations for the purposes intended. Registering as an official charity involves contacting your state's secretary of state office.

Contact your state's secretary of state office to request the submission form for registering a charitable organization. Ask for the form to be sent to you directly, or access the department's website to fill in the form online.

Fill out the forms with all of the required information, including any earnings your group may have generated. Make copies of all forms and submit the originals to the secretary of state office.

Have on hand receipts and accounting records that show where your group's money comes from and where it is spent. The secretary of state office may ask to review these records to evaluate your submission.

Remember to submit your earnings every year to renew your group's status as a registered charity once you have been registered.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep a folder with all the paperwork you used in the submission process for your records.
  • Make sure you submit all the materials requested by the deadline.

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