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This is the "Start a Nonprofit" page of the "Nonprofit Resource Center" guide.
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Last Updated: Oct 14, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Start a Nonprofit Print Page

Nonprofit Resource Center

Nonprofit Resource Center
Central Library
3nd floor
400 Civic Center
TulsaOK 74103

Open to the public during 
regular library operating hours.



Nonprofit Startup Resources by State

Use's map of Nonprofit Startup Resources By State to find local legal assistance, state filing agencies, nonprofit associations, and more. 

Knowledge Map

How to Form a Nonprofit Web Resources

  • Create a Strategic Plan for Your Nonprofit
    A collection of FAQs, articles, and legal forms complied by Nolo, the nation’s leading provider of do-it-yourself legal solutions for consumers and small businesses.
  • Establishing a Nonprofit Organization
    The Foundation Center’s guide to forming a nonprofit, describes 12 tasks you will need to accomplish as part of the process of establishing a nonprofit organization.
  • How to Start a Non-Profit Organization in Oklahoma
    This guide from Harbor Business Compliance, a document filing company, offers detailed step-by-step instructions for starting a nonprofit in Oklahoma.
  • IRS Frequently Asked Questions About Tax Exempt Organizations
    Provides answers for nonprofits and tax-exempt organizations, including how to apply for tax-exempt status, annual reporting and general operating information. provides links to other helpful information in addition to instructions and forms for filing.
  • Life Cycle of a Public Charity
    Provides information for public charities regarding the beginning and ongoing relationship with the IRS. This document provides information for what will need to be filed when establishing a 501(c)3 as well as what is required to stay in compliance.
  • National Council of Nonprofits
    A collection of resources for nonprofit leaders arranged by topics including "how to start a nonprofit," administration, boards, ethics, fundraising, and more.
  • Nonprofit Good Practice Guide
    The Johnson Center’s Nonprofit Leadership Institute at Grand Valley State University, Michigan serves as a clearinghouse for resources useful to nonprofit organizations and others seeking information about the nonprofit sector. Specializes in resources for nonprofit and foundation professionals, students and volunteers.
  • Nuts and bolts of starting a nonprofit organization in the U.S.
    Procedures and rules of starting a nonprofit in the US

How Do I Form a Nonprofit in Oklahoma?

Steps to Establish a Nonprofit Organization

These are the essential steps for forming a nonprofit organization. Fore more info, see the Foundation Center's tutorial "Establishing a Nonprofit Organization."

  • Develop a Vision and Mission Statement
    Grant Space provides examples of and information about vision and mission statements. A clearly articulated mission, adopted by the board of directors, serves to explain and popularize the charity’s purpose and guide its work. It also addresses why the charity exists, what it hopes to accomplish, and what activities it will undertake, where, and for whom.
  • Choose trustees/board members
    The Nonprofit Resource Center has a selection of books about how to choose trustees and board members.
  • Establish Bylaws  
    Bylaws are an organization's internal operating rules and may include:
    •Size of the board and how it will function
    •Roles and duties of directors and officers
    •Rules and procedures for holding meetings, electing directors, and appointing officers
    •Conflict of interest policies and procedures
    •How grant monies will be distributed
    •Other essential corporate governance matters
  • Choose a Name
    The availability of the proposed name may be checked in advance by telephoning the BUSINESS FILING DIVISION of the Secretary of State directly at (405)-521-3912. PRIOR to filing the certificate of incorporation, a name may be reserved for a period of sixty (60) days by filing a name reservation application and paying a fee of $10.00.
  • File the Certificate of Incorporation  
    Instructions and forms needed to file your organization with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. You'll need to: pick a name, pay a filing fee of $25.00, list chosen trustees/directors. See form for details.
  • Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
    To open one or more bank accounts in the name of the organization (and to file Form 990 with the IRS after each fiscal year), you will need to obtain an employer identification number (EIN), also called a federal tax identification number. An EIN may be obtained by filing Form SS-4 with the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Open a bank account and establish check signing procedures
  • File for federal tax exemption: Application for Recognition of Exemption under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.
    Application for Recognition of Exemption under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. If you are approved, you will receive a "tax determination letter" from the IRS confirming your not-for-profit status. Your institution will be known as a 501c(3) organization. This letter is evidence of your eligibility for grants from foundations.
  • Follow state and local nonprofit regulations
    File for state and local tax exemptions
    File for property tax exemptions
    Nonprofit bulk mailing permit

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