How to Start a Nonprofit in New Hampshire?


Starting a nonprofit organization in New Hampshire can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience, as it allows you to make a positive impact on your community while also fulfilling your own personal goals and passions. However, starting a nonprofit can also be a complex and challenging process, as there are many legal and financial requirements that must be met. In this blog, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to start a nonprofit in New Hampshire, including information on the legal requirements, the formation process, and the ongoing responsibilities of running a nonprofit organization.

Determine the Purpose

The first step in starting a nonprofit in New Hampshire is to determine the purpose of your organization. This should be a clear and specific statement that describes the mission and goals of your nonprofit. It should also be in line with the IRS's definition of a charitable organization, which is an organization that is organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for the sake of public safety, literature, or education, or to promote national or international amateur sports competition (but only if no part of its activity involves the supply of sporting facilities). or equipment), or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals.

Choose a Name

Once you have determined the purpose of your nonprofit, you will need to choose a name for your organization. The name must be unique and not already in use by another organization in New Hampshire. You should also check to see if the name is available as a domain name for your website and if it's available to be used on social media.

Form a Board of Directors

The next step in starting a nonprofit in New Hampshire is to form a board of directors. This should be a group of individuals who share your passion for the mission of your nonprofit and who have the skills and experience necessary to help guide and govern the organization. The board of directors is responsible for making important decisions about the operation of the nonprofit and for ensuring that it is in compliance with all legal and financial requirements.

File for Tax-Exempt Status

Once you have formed a board of directors, you will need to file for tax-exempt status with the IRS. This is a necessary step in order for your nonprofit to be able to receive tax-deductible donations and grants. In order to file for tax-exempt status, you will need to complete and file Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

File for Incorporation

In order to legally establish your nonprofit in New Hampshire, you will need to file for incorporation. To do this, you will need to file articles of incorporation with the New Hampshire Secretary of State. This process will require certain information such as your nonprofit's name, purpose, and the names and addresses of your board of directors.

Obtain any Necessary Licenses and Permits

Depending on the nature of your nonprofit, you may need to obtain certain licenses and permits in order to legally operate in New Hampshire. For example, if your nonprofit will be soliciting donations or selling goods, you may need to register with the New Hampshire Charitable Trusts Unit. Additionally, if your nonprofit will be using a physical location, you may need to obtain a business license from your city or town.

Establish a Bookkeeping System

In order to maintain compliance with legal and financial requirements, it's important to establish a bookkeeping system for your nonprofit. This should include a system for keeping track of donations, expenses, and other financial transactions. It's also important to keep accurate records of your nonprofit's activities and to file all necessary tax forms, such as Form 990, on a timely basis.

Develop a Fundraising Plan

One of the most important aspects of running a nonprofit is raising funds to support your organization's mission and goals. To do this, you will need to develop a fundraising plan that outlines the specific steps you will take to raise money. This may include applying for grants, soliciting donations, and organizing fundraising events. It's important to be creative and to think outside the box when it comes to fundraising, as there are many different ways to raise money for your nonprofit.

Create a Marketing and Communications Plan

In order for your nonprofit to be successful, it's important to create a marketing and communications plan that outlines how you will promote your organization and its mission. This may include creating a website, social media presence, and promotional materials. It's also important to establish relationships with the media and to communicate regularly with your donors and supporters.

New Hampshire Attorney General's Charitable Trusts Unit

Finally, in order to operate as a nonprofit organization in New Hampshire, you must register with the New Hampshire Attorney General's Charitable Trusts Unit. This registration is required for all organizations that solicit donations in the state.


In conclusion, starting a nonprofit organization in New Hampshire can be a challenging but rewarding experience. By following the steps outlined above, you can ensure that your organization is legally and financially compliant and that it has the resources it needs to make a positive impact on your community. Additionally, it's important to stay informed about the regulations and laws that apply to nonprofit organizations in New Hampshire, and to seek the advice of an attorney or accountant if you have any questions or concerns.