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Starting a Nonprofit



Nonprofits exist in response to community needs.

Nonprofits provide the services and attractions that make communities livable, vibrant, and desirable.


Considerations before starting a nonprofit

  • What is the purpose of the nonprofit?

  • What is the need or issue you want to address?

  • What other organizations are already working on the issue? And have you met with them?

  • Have you researched best practices locally and nationally?

  • What is your theory of change?

  • Have you done a needs assessment?

  • Does a significant portion of the community support the creation of a new nonprofit?

  • Where will the funding come from?

    • Have people committed to making donations if the nonprofit gets the letter of determination from the IRS?

    • Are you aware that many foundations will not give grants/contracts to nonprofits less than three years old? Without a track record, is there research to show that your approach is effective?

Additional Considerations

  • Have you considered all the work involved in managing a nonprofit? 

    • In addition to working on the mission of the organization, you will also need to raise funds to do the work, manage the funds, work with a board of directors, employees, volunteers, and comply with all reporting requirements.

    • Running a Nonprofit, National Council of Nonprofits

  • To accept donations online or via credit card, your organizations needs to be in compliance with Payment Card Industry Standards.

    • Many nonprofits find it easier to work with a credit card processor to let them handle the compliance and security issues.

  • Your organization needs to register in any state where you want to solicit donations. 

Steps to Establishing a Nonprofit

  • Incorporate as a nonprofit corporation with the NM Secretary of State

  • Apply to the IRS for tax exempt status

    • Before applying to the IRS, register with

    • For revenues under $50,000 for the first three years, use Form 1023-EZ

    • Otherwise use Form 1023

  • Register within thirty days with the New Mexico Department of Justice, Charities Division

Additional Resources

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