5 Steps to Get Your 501c3 - Whitfield & Associates

May 19, 2022
Client Resources


Welcome to Whitfield & Associates, a trusted name in finance, accounting, and auditing services. Are you looking to establish a nonprofit organization and obtain your 501c3 tax-exempt status? Look no further, as we provide a comprehensive guide on the 5 essential steps to achieve your goal successfully.

Step 1: Clarify Your Mission and Purpose

The first step towards obtaining your 501c3 status is defining a clear mission statement and purpose for your nonprofit organization. This statement should convey the primary goals and objectives that your organization aims to achieve in the community. It is essential to articulate your mission in a concise and compelling manner to attract supporters, both financial and volunteer.

Step 2: Form a Board of Directors

Establishing a board of directors is a crucial step in demonstrating the governance and accountability of your nonprofit organization. Select individuals who share a passion for your cause and possess diverse skills and expertise. The board members play a vital role in decision-making, strategic planning, and overseeing the organization's activities.

Step 3: File Articles of Incorporation

Filing the necessary legal documentation, such as the articles of incorporation, is imperative for legitimizing your nonprofit organization. These articles outline the purpose, structure, and regulations governing your organization. At Whitfield & Associates, our experienced professionals can guide you through this process, ensuring compliance with state requirements.

Step 4: Create Bylaws and Policies

Developing comprehensive bylaws and policies is essential for establishing a solid foundation for your nonprofit organization. Bylaws serve as an internal operating manual detailing the organization's structure, board member responsibilities, decision-making processes, and more. They provide clarity on how your organization functions and demonstrate good governance practices.

Step 5: Apply for Tax-Exempt Status

The final step in obtaining your 501c3 status is submitting the application for tax-exempt status to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This application requires careful completion and attention to detail to ensure compliance with the IRS guidelines. Whitfield & Associates can help you prepare and submit a comprehensive application, increasing your chances of success.


Congratulations! You have learned the 5 essential steps to obtain your 501c3 tax-exempt status. With Whitfield & Associates by your side, you can navigate the complexities of the process with confidence and ease. Our expertise in finance, accounting, and auditing, led by Kathleen R. McHugh, CPA, ensures that your nonprofit organization remains compliant and successful in its mission. Get started today and make a positive impact in your community!

Laurie Eley
Great guide!
Oct 6, 2023