Back to Business: How I am Starting a Nonprofit in 6 Steps

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Aloha, Friends! Last month, I was on a month-long graduation celebration in Hawaii to commemorate four graduation anniversaries: 25 year high school, 20 year bachelors of education, 15 year masters of education, and 1 year doctorate of education. Now that my epic vacation is over, it is back to business. After my doctoral graduation last year, I started an educational nonprofit in August 2020, Global Alternative Learning Systems (G.A.L.S.). Below are the six steps I took to start a nonprofit business.

Step 1 – Get a State Business License

I started by submitting online G.A.L.S. articles of incorporation, bylaws, and conflict of interest paperwork, along with $100 to Oregon Secretary of State for a business license. I chose this state because I travel and the business needs a registered agent who can receive legal mail at a permanent address, and my home base is located in Oregon. However, most of my business mail goes to my Traveling Mailbox where I can receive mail, have it scanned digitally for me to view whenever and wherever I need, and there are shredding and fax services that are helpful, too.

Step 2 – Apply for an EIN

Also found online is the free SS-4 application to the IRS for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). I applied and received an immediate response with G.A.L.S. new nonprofit business EIN. This is necessary to complete the IRS 1023 application form in step 4.

Step 3 – Have First Board Meeting

G.A.L.S. had our first official board meeting on Zoom in September 2020 while I was driving around the United States. We went over all the paperwork I sent for the state business license and all the paperwork I will be submitting to the federal for the IRS 1023 application. Yearly board meetings are required by the IRS to uphold nonprofit status.

Step 4 – Submit IRS 1023 Application

When I came back to my home base in Oregon around mid November, I worked on G.A.L.S. 1023 paperwork for the IRS to apply for 501c3 tax exempt status which I submitted online along with $600 on December 31, 2020. The IRS website suggested it would take a minimum of six months for a response unless I wanted to pay for it to be expedited. I was going to be traveling the United States again that entire time and had no need to speed up the process.

Step 5 – Amend 1023 Application

After six full months and in the middle of my month-long Hawaiian graduation celebration, I finally received notice from the IRS that my 1023 application was not approved. However, they gave me a list of things to correct, then I can amend my application, and resubmit for another review. The IRS gave me until the end of July to respond, which was not enough time, especially since all my nonprofit books and paperwork were left back at my home base.

Step 6 – Resubmit IRS 1023 Application

I was able to contact my IRS caseworker and fax them a letter to request more time, they approved it until the end of August. For this entire month, I will be working on amending and resubmitting my IRS 1023 application. I am forever grateful for my doctoral dissertation experience that taught me how to keep up with resubmitting paperwork! 

G.A.L.S. Business Goal for August: Get Approved for 501c3

For the remainder of August, I will be blogging about my new journey starting an educational nonprofit business from the ground up. Each day I will share about the nitty gritty steps that I am taking to get approved by amending my IRS 1023 application for 501c3 tax exempt status. This will give others insight on how they can start creating their own nonprofit businesses. Looking forward to sharing my educational journey with you.

Thank you for reading,

Jaime Brainerd, E.d.D.

About the Author

Dr. Brainerd

Hello, I am Dr. Jaime Brainerd Ed.D., a lifelong learner, beauty consultant, author, financial specialist, artist, traveler, health enthusiast, and self care advocate. Please follow my website for my B.R.E.A.T.H.S. blogs.

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