How to File Nonprofit Articles of Agreement in New Hampshire

Starting a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in New Hampshire is easy — and the first task is filing your Articles of Agreement. This guide will walk you through the 10 steps required to file the Articles of Agreement to officially start a nonprofit in New Hampshire.

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Getting Started

To start a domestic nonprofit corporation in New Hampshire, you must file the Articles of Agreement of a New Hampshire Nonprofit Corporation. This guide covers each step you must take to complete this document successfully and get on the right track to forming a New Hampshire nonprofit.

Step 1: List Your Nonprofit’s Name
Step 2: Describe Your Nonprofit’s Purpose
Step 3: Describe the Terms of Membership
Step 4: Outline the Distribution of Assets Upon Dissolution
Step 5: List Your Nonprofit’s Principal Address
Step 6: List the Amount of Capital Stock (If Any)
Step 7: Include Liability Provisions
Step 8: Provide Any Additional Attachments
Step 9: List Your Incorporator Information
Step 10: File Formation Documents

(Check out our other guides for a look at how to start a nonprofit organization or how to file articles of incorporation in other states.)

Step 1: List Your Nonprofit’s Name

The first step to filling out your New Hampshire Articles of Agreement is to list your nonprofit corporation’s name. If you haven’t gone through the process of establishing a name for your organization, here are the requirements for naming a nonprofit in New Hampshire:

  • Your nonprofit’s name must be distinguishable from any other name on record within the state of New Hampshire, including any reserved names.
  • Your nonprofit’s name can’t imply the organization’s purpose is anything other than what’s stated in the Articles of Agreement.

Recommended: For a step-by-step guide to naming your nonprofit corporation in New Hampshire, read our guide on How to Name a Nonprofit in New Hampshire.

Search the Availability of Your Name

After selecting potential names — ideally, at least four or five — it’s important to search for their availability in your state. You can do this by conducting the four recommended searches outlined below, or use our 501(c)(3) Lookup Table.

New Hampshire Business Search
To operate in New Hampshire, a nonprofit corporation must have a unique name. You can easily check if your chosen name is available by performing a search using the New Hampshire QuickStart Business Search tool.

Domain Name Search
We strongly recommend that you also check to see if your business name is available as a web domain (URL). Even if you don’t plan to create a business website today, you may want to buy the web address to prevent others from acquiring that domain name. It’s a free search.

Federal Trademark Search
You can easily check if someone already trademarked your chosen nonprofit name by using the federal Trademark Electronic Search System. This is important even if you don’t plan to form your nonprofit right away.

Once you confirm that no one else already trademarked your chosen name, you can apply for a trademark for your nonprofit.

Web and Social Media Search
A strong social media presence will play a key role in expanding your reach to potential donors as well as clients that will use your services. That makes it important to search the web and popular social media platforms for your desired name before registering it to ensure it’s available on all the platforms where you plan to promote your organization.

Step 2: Describe Your Nonprofit’s Purpose

In article two, describe your nonprofit’s purpose. That purpose must include one or more of the following characteristics for your nonprofit to be eligible for 501(c)(3) status:

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

Step 3: Describe the Terms of Membership

If your nonprofit corporation will have members, describe the terms of membership and/or participation in article three. Having members can offer many benefits, such as voting rights in the election of directors. The required provisions — if your corporation chooses to have members — include:

  • The establishment of membership classes, if your nonprofit will have more than one (Otherwise, members will form one class.)
  • The details of members’ rights (Members have no voting rights unless otherwise stated in your nonprofit’s formation documents or bylaws.)
  • The fixed terms of membership (You may outline this in your formation document or in your nonprofit’s bylaws.)
  • Confirmation that each voting member is entitled to one vote (Weighted voting is prohibited.)

Step 4: Outline the Distribution of Assets Upon Dissolution

Describe how your nonprofit corporation’s assets will be distributed upon its dissolution.

Distribution of assets upon dissolution must be for approved, tax-exempt purposes only. For more information about the requirements of dissolution and 501(c)(3) status, refer to the sixth section of the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS’) suggested language for corporations and associations.

Step 5: List Your Nonprofit’s Principal Address

In article five, list the following information:

  • The principal address at which your nonprofit’s business will take place
  • Your nonprofit’s principal mailing address (if different from its principal address)
  • The nonprofit’s business email address

Step 6: List the Amount of Capital Stock (If Any)

Most nonprofit corporations don’t have any capital stock or shares to distribute. If applicable to your nonprofit corporation, list any capital stock, shares, or membership certificates in article six.

Step 7: Include Liability Provisions

You may choose to include provisions that eliminate or limit personal liability for your nonprofit’s directors, officers, or both. If you don’t plan to include such provisions, then insert “none” in article seven.

Step 8: Provide Any Additional Attachments

To qualify for 501(c)(3) status, you must include some additional statements in your Articles of Agreement. Because the New Hampshire formation document doesn’t include a section related to your initial board of directors, use an attachment to provide that information. You must have at least three directors.

When listing your nonprofit’s initial board of directors, follow these requirements:

  • Don’t include any prefixes, such as “Mr.” or “Ms.”
  • If applicable, use titles of lineage.
  • If applicable, use designations like “M.D.” or “Ph.D.”

For a complete guide to forming your nonprofit’s board of directors, read our How to Develop a Board of Directors for a Nonprofit in New Hampshire article.

Step 9: List Your Incorporator Information

An incorporator is any person who participates in the completion and submission of the Articles of Agreement. At least five incorporators must provide their signatures and addresses on this document.

Step 10: File Formation Documents

There are two ways to file your New Hampshire Articles of Agreement: online or by mail. If filing by mail, you must first submit one copy to the Department of State and then file one copy with the city or town clerk in the area where your nonprofit’s business address is located.

File the New Hampshire Articles of Agreement

OPTION 1: File Online With New Hampshire QuickStart

File Online

– OR –

OPTION 2: File by Mail

Download Form

Fee: $27 online, $30 by mail ($25 state filing fee + $5 local filing fee)

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

Note: A copy must be submitted to the clerk in your nonprofit’s principal location.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I start a nonprofit organization in New Hampshire?

You can form a nonprofit in New Hampshire by filing the Articles of Agreement of a New Hampshire Nonprofit Corporation with the New Hampshire Department of State’s Corporation Division.

How do I find nonprofits in New Hampshire?

Use our handy New Hampshire 501(c)(3) Lookup Table to find nonprofits in New Hampshire. You can use this tool to see if your preferred nonprofit name is in use or not.

New Hampshire Nonprofit Quick Links

IRS: Information for Charities and Nonprofits
IRS: Charity – Required Provisions for Organizing Documents
IRS: Form 990 Series for Tax-Exempt Organizations
IRS: Applying for Tax-Exempt Status
IRS: 501(c)(3) Compliance Guide
US Small Business Administration: Apply for Licenses and Permits
New Hampshire Secretary of State: Nonprofit Guidance (PDF)
New Hampshire Secretary of State: Nonprofit Forms
New Hampshire Statutes: Voluntary Corporations and Associations
New Hampshire Department of State: Business Resources
New Hampshire Department of Justice: Charitable Trusts Unit
New Hampshire Department of Labor
New Hampshire 501(c)(3) Lookup Table

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