How to Start a Nonprofit in Minnesota?


Starting a nonprofit in Minnesota can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience, but it also requires a significant amount of time, effort, and planning. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of starting a nonprofit in Minnesota, including everything from researching and choosing a cause to registering with the state and obtaining tax-exempt status.

Research and Choose a Cause

The first step in starting a nonprofit in Minnesota is to research and choose a cause that you are passionate about and that aligns with your values and beliefs. This can include causes such as education, poverty, the environment, health, and more. It's also important to research existing nonprofits that are working on similar causes in your area to ensure that there is a need for your organization and to avoid duplicating efforts.

Develop a Business Plan

Once you have chosen a cause, the next step is to develop a business plan for your nonprofit. Your business plan should include information on your mission and goals, target population, programs and services, budget, and fundraising plan. This will help you to organize your thoughts, identify any potential challenges, and make sure that your nonprofit is financially sustainable.

Choose a Name and Incorporate

Next, you will need to choose a name for your nonprofit and incorporate it in the state of Minnesota. The name you choose should be unique and easily recognizable, and it must not be already in use by another organization. To incorporate, you will need to file articles of incorporation with the Minnesota Secretary of State and pay a filing fee.

Obtain Tax-Exempt Status

Once your nonprofit is incorporated, the next step is to obtain tax-exempt status. To do this, you will need to file for 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This can be a complex and time-consuming process, so it is recommended that you consult with a lawyer or accountant for assistance.

Register with the State of Minnesota

In addition to obtaining federal tax-exempt status, you will also need to register with the state of Minnesota. This will involve filing an annual registration with the Minnesota Attorney General's Office and paying a fee.

Build a Board of Directors

One of the most important steps in starting a nonprofit in Minnesota is building a board of directors. A board of directors is responsible for the overall governance of the organization and should consist of individuals who are committed to your cause and have the skills and expertise to help your nonprofit succeed.

Launch Your Nonprofit

Once you have completed all of the steps outlined above, you are ready to launch your nonprofit. This will involve creating a website, developing marketing materials, and reaching out to potential donors and volunteers. It's also important to keep in mind that starting a nonprofit is an ongoing process, and you will need to continue to work hard to raise funds, recruit volunteers, and achieve your mission.


Starting a nonprofit in Minnesota can be a challenging but rewarding experience. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your nonprofit is well-organized, financially sustainable, and in compliance with all state and federal regulations. Remember to be patient, stay focused on your cause, and surround yourself with a supportive team of like-minded individuals. With hard work and dedication, your nonprofit can make a real difference in the lives of others.