How do we register as a non-profit?

We are a self-funded independent team in South NJ. There are not that many teams in our area and last year was out first. Our final goal is to eventually convince the school to start a club, so they can apply for grants. Meanwhile how do we become non-profit 501 c(3) since it is easier to get sponsor donations? Who can help us with the paperwork?

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We have a parent of a team member that is an accountant. She filled out all the paperwork and made it look easy. That being said, I don’t think is would be nearly as easy for a layperson (not impossible, but more difficult. Mistakes can cost you time). I’m sure if you went to the IRS website, there are instructions on how to apply.

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Depending on what your teams affiliation is, schools are considered non-profit, and with that being said if you are not part of the school district, non-profit status is different for every state.

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We are in New Jersey and not affiliated with school. In order to get donations from bigger companies we need the non-profit status.

You will probably have much better luck asking Google about 501(c)3 for New Jersey than asking here.

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Thanks. I was just wondering who can help with that, I did google it. Also I wanted to ask for tips on how to get it to school and make it a club there since it is easier for funding.

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To build STEM Robotics as a non-profit we hired an accountant that had done it before. He charged us $150 and we got the status back from the IRS in < 3 months. I’d ask your parents who their accountants are and ask around with them on the fees.

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@Ben_Mitchell might be a good resource for you also

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@vexvoltage I will contact Ben Mitchell since I have more questions than just the non-profit , thank you!

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I did this myself not too long ago, but if you can get an accountant to do it for you as a favor that would be better.

I used LegalZoom to file the LLC and after I got the paperwork back I filed for non-profit status with the IRS. It’s a pain. But, they basically tell you exactly what to write if you read through the paperwork.

I would also remind you that there are costs associated simply with filing corporations and non-profit status, as well as yearly renewal fees as well. It’s not just the fee paid to the accountant, and that will come out of your fund raised money.

However, I believe it’s 100% worth it. You can get a checking account in the name of the company and a debit card associated with it as well, and then they can make checks out to your non-profit instead of your parents. It’s just more legit on the whole.

Good luck!

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Paying for an accountant that does this beats a free accountant that doesn’t do this. Our guy had it done soup to cake and an IRS determination in < 3 months. An accountant that doesn’t get it right will draw that process out. It’s not much and it’s worth getting it done right the first time.

Lots of companies will not give money to anything other than 503, so it’s worth becoming a non-profit.

A side thing you will need to expense is an insurance policy that covers the group. STEM Robotics has a million dollar coverage that covers us when we travel, damage at events, etc. These policies are somewhat cheaper for non-profits. You need to shop around for a policy. Your normal State Farm or Progressive agent isn’t going to be help other than directing you to someone that covers it. Try Alliance of Nonprofits for Insurance where I get my local Maker’s Group insurance or Zurich where STEM Robotics is covered. You are looking at between $800 and $1200 a year.

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