How to Start a Nonprofit in New Hampshire

To start a nonprofit in New Hampshire and get 501c3 status, follow these steps:

Step 1: Name Your New Hampshire Nonprofit
Step 2: Select Your Board Members & Officers
Step 3: Adopt Bylaws & Conflict of Interest Policy
Step 4: File the Articles of Agreement
Step 5: Get an EIN
Step 6: Apply for 501c3

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Starting a 501c3 Nonprofit in New Hampshire Is Easy

New Hampshire is home to 9,029 different nonprofit organizations, demonstrating that there are plenty of successful nonprofit companies located in the Granite State. These nonprofit organizations range from religious organizations, foundations, educational institutions, and dozens of other categories. 

Combined, nonprofit organizations in New Hampshire generate an average of $15 billion in revenue each year. They also own assets totaling $40 billion in value and employ a workforce of 130,037 people. 

Educational institutions are the largest category of nonprofits in New Hampshire, and there are 1,327 New Hampshire organizations that fall under this category. Recreation, sports, and social clubs are the second-largest category with 1,025 organizations, and foundations are the third-largest with 865. 

In terms of revenue generation, though, it is health organizations that take first place. Each year, nonprofit health organizations in New Hampshire generate a combined average of $6.3 billion. Educational institutions come in second with over $3.6 billion in average annual revenue, followed by religious organizations with over $1 billion in average annual revenue.

With these statistics in mind, you can start putting together everything you need to start your own organization in the state.

To start a 501c3 tax-exempt nonprofit organization in New Hampshire, you must first start a nonprofit in New Hampshire according to the rules of the state and then apply for 501c3 status with the IRS.

Learn more about 501c3 eligibility in our What is a 501c3 guide.

Want to form a nonprofit elsewhere? Check out our other How to Start a Nonprofit guides. Also, check out our best nonprofit formation services review.

Step 1: Name Your New Hampshire Nonprofit

Choosing a name for your New Hampshire nonprofit is a vital first step in the process of forming your company. For one, you won’t be able to file your company with the state until you have a name in place. The name you choose will also be a key part of your company’s branding and will ideally help it attract as many members/donors as possible. 

For additional help naming your New Hampshire nonprofit, you can check out our How to Name a Nonprofit in New Hampshire guide.

Follow New Hampshire’s Naming Guidelines

Along with choosing a name that will appeal to members and donors, it’s also necessary to select a name that is compliant with New Hampshire’s business name guidelines. 

In New Hampshire, the name of a nonprofit must be unique from the name of any other company located in the state and cannot include language that suggests a purpose for the organization different than the purpose outlined in the company’s Articles of Agreement. 

You can read the New Hampshire Statutes to see a complete list of rules regarding acceptable names for New Hampshire nonprofit companies. 

Make Sure the Name Is Available 

To check if the name you are considering is available for use in New Hampshire, you can conduct a name search on the State of New Hampshire website. This will show you if there are any other companies in the state already using the name you searched for. 

Secure a Web Domain 

Once you’ve confirmed that your name isn’t already taken by another company, it’s a good idea to make sure that the name is available as a web domain as well using a tool such as This will be vital if you intend to create a website for your nonprofit. 

Once you’ve chosen a name and web domain for your company, you can complete the process of filing your company with the state by working with a business formation service. There are several services available to New Hampshire business owners, but our top recommendation offers both experience and excellent customer reviews. 

Northwest ($29 + State Fees)

Step 2: Select your Directors & Officers

The directors of an organization come together to form a board of directors. This board of directors is responsible for overseeing the operations of the nonprofit. 

The president, secretary, and other members of the nonprofit who have individual responsibilities and authorities are known as officers

While New Hampshire only requires nonprofit corporations to have at least one board member, the IRS requires nonprofits to have at least three directors to be eligible for 501c3 status. The majority of directors should not be related to each other.

New Hampshire does not have any specific officer requirements, meaning titles are left up to the nonprofit to determine in its bylaws.

To learn more about electing a New Hampshire nonprofit board of directors, read our full guide.

Step 3: Adopt Bylaws & Conflict of Interest Policy

In order to apply for 501c3 status with the IRS, your nonprofit company must first adopt bylaws and a conflict of interest policy. 

Bylaws are a list of rules that detail a company’s operating procedures, covering considerations such as where and when board meetings are held, how board members are appointed, and a variety of other important considerations. 

A conflict of interest policy is a set of rules designed to ensure that officers and board members always act in the best interest of the company rather than making decisions intended to benefit themselves or other individual members. 

Note that your company’s bylaws and conflict of interest policy should be put into place during the company’s first organizational meeting.

Step 4: File the New Hampshire Articles of Agreement

To register your nonprofit, you will need to file the Articles of Agreement with the State of New Hampshire.

To ensure that your nonprofit is eligible to apply for 501c3, in the Articles of Agreement you must explicitly state the following:

1. Purpose:

In order to qualify for 501c3 status, the organization’s purpose must explicitly be limited to one or more of the following:

Charitable, Religious, Scientific, Educational, Literary, Fostering national/international amateur sports competition, Preventing cruelty to animals/children, Testing for public safety

2. Dissolution:

You must explicitly state what the assets of the organization will be used for, and what will happen to the assets if the organization is dissolved. 

To be eligible for 501c3 status, the assets of your organization must only ever be used for purposes approved under section 501c3. 

Section 5 of this sample IRS document provides an example of these provisions required for 501c3 eligibility. 

File the Articles of Agreement

OPTION 1: File Online With New Hampshire QuickStart

File Online

– OR –

OPTION 2: File Form NP-1 by Mail

Download Form

State Filing Cost: $25

Mailing Address:
Corporate Division
NH Dept. of State
107 N Main St., Rm. 204
Concord, NH 03301-4989

Note: Nonprofits that file by mail must submit a copy of the Articles of Agreement to the city or town clerk in which their mailing address is located.

To learn more, read our New Hampshire Articles of Agreement guide.

Step 5: Get an EIN

Your New Hampshire nonprofit will be required to have an EIN before it is able to file federal or state taxes, open a business bank account, or hire employees. For these reasons, acquiring an EIN is an essential step in the process of forming a New Hampshire nonprofit. 

What is an EIN? An Employer Identification Number (EIN), or Federal Tax Identification Number is a nine-digit number that is similar to a Social Security number for business entities; your company’s EIN will be used to identify the company for legal/tax purposes. 

How to Get an EIN — You can request an EIN for your New Hampshire company from the IRS at no charge. This can be done online or by mail. To learn more about how to get an EIN for your New Hampshire nonprofit, check out our EIN Lookup guide. 

Step 6: Apply for 501c3 Status

Before a nonprofit can apply for 501c3 status it must, 

  1. Elect at least 3 directors not related to each other
  2. File the Articles of Agreement with the required provisions (As covered in Step 4)
  3. Adopt the bylaws and conflict of interest policy  
  4. Have an EIN number 

Once these four conditions have been met your nonprofit can apply for 501c3 tax-exempt status by filing Form-1023 online. 

If your application is approved, the IRS will send you a determination letter stating that your organization is exempt from federal taxes under section 501c3. 

See if your nonprofit has 501c3 status in New Hampshire. Use our New Hampshire 501c3 lookup table to find all New Hampshire nonprofits.

FAQ: Starting Your Nonprofit

When should an organization apply for federal tax exemption?

Form 1023 must be filed within 27 months from the end of the first month your organization was created.

How long will it take for the IRS to process Form 1023/1023-EZ?

Soon after sending your application you should receive an acknowledgement of receipt of your application. 

If your application is simple and complete, IRS will send your determination letter within 180 days for Form 1023

If you have not heard from them by that time you can call 877-829-5500 to inquire about your application. 

State of New Hampshire Quick Links