Do you have an idea for starting an Illinois not for profit but don’t know where to start?  As with any business idea, starting a successful not for profit begins with careful planning.  Here is a list of questions to get you started:

1) What is the purpose of the organization?

2) What will be the name of the organization?

  • The name of the organization must comply with the standards set forth in the Act.  Section 104.05 requires that the name end with the letters “NFP” if the name implies that the corporation is organized for some purpose other than those allowed under the Act or other than the purpose set forth in the Articles of Organization.  See 805 ILCS 105/104.05 for all of the rules with respect to the organization name.

3) How will authority be delegated?

4) Who will the organization benefit?

5) How will your organization be financed?

  • You might consider consulting with a professional fund raiser.  But in any event, you need to think about how much money you will need and where it will come from.  This should be included in your business plan.

6) How will you plan for succession?

All of this information and more needs to go into a well-drafted business plan.  There are many free guides online to help you draft a solid plan.  Here are some sites to help you get started:

Put the answers to these questions on paper and you will have done most of the legwork necessary to form an Illinois not for profit organization.  And once you have established your not for profit organization, you can apply for tax-exempt status under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code.  For steps on how to get tax-exempt status, visit the IRS website at