Skip to Main Content

Starting a Nonprofit

This guide offers information and resources on starting a nonprofit in Colorado.

Additional Guides

Ask a Librarian

Profile Photo
Katie Edson
Penrose Library
20 N. Cascade Ave.
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
(719) 531-6333 x6141
Subjects: Nonprofit


Interested in starting a nonprofit, but not sure where to go?  This guide will provide information on how to get started, what you should think about before getting started, and links to resources to help you start a nonprofit.                                                            

According to the IRS, the purpose of a nonprofit must be charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and preventing cruelty to children or animals.  It is not because you do not plan to make any money.

Things to remember before starting a nonprofit:

  • Your vision should be UNIQUE.
  • You do not "own" the nonprofit once established.  The Board of Directors is responsible for the oversight of the nonprofit.
  • If you are completing the IRS application on your own, it could take 12-18 months for approval.
  • The IRS Tax Code changed in 2018, removing the nonprofit donation personal exemption for a majority of taxpayers.

The IRS has 29 501(c) designations, including the most popular 501(c)(3).  A 501(c)(3) designation means donations made to your organization are tax-deductible.  For the purposes of this guide, nonprofit designation will refer to a 501(c)(3) organization.