Non-Profit Basics

A non-profit corporation benefits its members and the public rather than private individuals. Starting a non-profit business requires good planning and an understanding of important non-profit basics. This multi-step process can feel overwhelming when you’re on your own, but we’ll try to make it easier to stay organized and on track. We encourage you to review the non-profit basics below before using the Business Assistant.

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Starting a non-profit corporation takes preparation. In addition to writing a great business plan, there are important legal requirements to consider.

Learn how to plan for your non-profit’s success.

More about planning

First impressions matter. Your name should be unique, simple and unforgettable.

Check to see if your name is available and learn how to protect it.

More about name availability

Non-profit corporations can apply to become tax exempt by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and/or the state.

Learn how to become a tax exempt entity

There are two possible business structures available for non-profit organizations in Rhode Island.

More about non-profit business structures

It is important for you to have a clear understanding of the basic fees associated with starting and maintaining your non-profit.

More about costs & fees

Some non-profit activities require additional licensing or permits. For example, if you are opening a soup kitchen, an animal shelter, or a retail shop, you may need a special permit.

Use the Business Assistant to create a list of requirements

Are you planning to hire employees? As an employer, you need to know all the labor regulations and payroll taxes required at the local, state, and federal levels.

More about hiring employees

Each city or town has zoning laws defining where and what type of business you can legally operate. Your non-profit corporation may be subject to these laws.

More about choosing a location

Did you know? There are rules and regulations governing how Rhode Island non-profit corporations can fundraise.

More about fundraising in Rhode Island

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Does your non-profit provide services (such as home nursing care) that require additional licensing? The Business Assistant will help you create a personalized checklist of relevant licenses, regulations, and fees.


The content on this website is offered as a public service and should not be used as a substitute for legal, financial or tax advice from an attorney or a certified public accountant.