How to Name a Nonprofit in Utah

Choosing a name for your 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is the first step in our complete guide, How to Start a Nonprofit in Utah. One of the most important decisions any founder will make is selecting the right name. We’re here to help with our full guide to choosing, validating, and registering a Utah nonprofit name in four easy steps.

Check out our other guides for a look at How to Start a Nonprofit Organization or How to Name a Nonprofit in other states.

Recommended: Use our Business Name Generator to brainstorm hundreds of catchy names (with available URLs) for your nonprofit. 

Name Your Nonprofit in 4 Easy Steps

Naming your Utah nonprofit is easy. Just follow these four simple steps to secure the best name for your 501(c)(3).

Step 1: Choose the Right Name for Your Nonprofit
Step 2: Follow the Nonprofit Naming Rules in Utah
Step 3: Check if Your Business Name is Available
Step 4: Register Your Nonprofit Name

Use our 501(c)(3) Lookup Table to see if your nonprofit’s name is already in use.

Step 1: Choose the Right Name for Your Nonprofit

Selecting the right name for your organization is an important task. In order to choose the name that best represents your nonprofit’s mission and purpose, we recommend following these guidelines:

  • Be specific. A nonprofit’s name should be direct and specific enough to convey its mission. Avoid using vague words or terms that could confuse donors and prospective clients about your organization’s purpose.
  • Make it memorable. Memorability is essential when selecting a name for any business. For nonprofits, selecting a name that will stick in the minds of those who come across it will not only improve your organization’s exposure among donors and volunteers but also make it easier for potential clients to find your services.
  • Keep it professional. Nonprofits rely heavily on their public image in order to attract donors or clients who may use their services — and their first impression will stem from your organization’s name. For this reason, your nonprofit needs a professional name that communicates a serious dedication to its mission and purpose.
  • Make it emotional. Whether your organization provides services for animals, displaced persons, or any other community, emotion and charity have a strong bond. Selecting a name that appeals to the emotions of both donors and clients will help build trust as well as your organization’s credibility.

We recommend selecting at least four to five names that fit your criteria before you start researching their availability. This approach will increase your chances of securing a unique and available name.

Recommended: Use our Business Name Generator to help you find an available and unique name in your state.

Step 2: Follow the Nonprofit Naming Rules in Utah

Corporation Name Requirements

Your Utah nonprofit name must adhere to the guidelines laid out in Section 401 of the Revised Nonprofit Corporation Act:

(1) The corporate name of a nonprofit corporation:

(a) may, but need not contain:

(i) the word “corporation,” “incorporated,” or “company”; or

(ii) an abbreviation of “corporation,” “incorporated,” or “company”;

(b) may not contain any word or phrase that indicates or implies that it is organized for any purpose other than one or more of the purposes contained in Section 16-6a-301 and its articles of incorporation;

(c) except as authorized by the division under Subsection (2), shall be distinguishable, as defined in Section 16-10a-401, from:

(i) the name of any domestic corporation incorporated in this state;

(ii) the name of any foreign corporation authorized to conduct affairs in this state;

(iii) the name of any domestic nonprofit corporation incorporated in this state;

(iv) the name of any foreign nonprofit corporation authorized to conduct affairs in this state;

(v) the name of any domestic limited liability company formed in this state;

(vi) the name of any foreign limited liability company authorized to conduct affairs in this state;

(vii) the name of any limited partnership formed or authorized to conduct affairs in this state;

(viii) any name that is reserved under Section 16-6a-402 or 16-10a-402;

(ix) the name of any entity that has registered its name under Section 42-2-5;

(x) the name of any trademark or service mark registered by the division; or

(xi) any assumed name filed under Section 42-2-5;

(d) shall be, for purposes of recordation, either translated into English or transliterated into letters of the English alphabet if it is not in English;

(e) without the written consent of the United States Olympic Committee, may not contain the words:

(i) “Olympic”;

(ii) “Olympiad”; or

(iii) “Citius Altius Fortius”; and

(f) without the written consent of the Division of Consumer Protection issued in accordance with Section 13-34-114, may not contain the words:

(i) “university”;

(ii) “college”; or

(iii) “institute” or “institution.”

Putting It Into Practice

Most nonprofits in Utah are organized as corporations, but you can choose to organize a nonprofit in four other ways: an unincorporated association, a trust, an association, or a limited liability company (LLC). Each option has specific naming requirements you must follow.

For the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on the requirements for naming a nonprofit corporation.

Incorporating is the most common way to organize a nonprofit. While naming rules for corporations vary by state, some requirements apply nationwide. State standards in Utah include:

  • Your corporation’s name must be distinguishable from any other name on record within the state of Utah, including any reserved names.

Unlike many other states, Utah doesn’t require a nonprofit corporation’s name to include an identifier such as “company,” “incorporated,” “corporation,” “limited partnership,” “partnership,” or any equivalent abbreviation.

Tax Exemption Requirements

If you plan to file for tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), pay close attention to the wording you use in your nonprofit’s name. Any words that imply a political or lobbying affiliation may hinder your ability to file for 501(c)(3) status.

Step 3: Check If Your Business Name Is Available

After you chose one or several name options for your nonprofit, you’ll need to make sure it’s available. Every nonprofit must have a distinguishable name so it’s helpful to confirm the availability of your desired name prior to incorporation.

The top four searches you should perform include:

Utah Business Name Search

To operate a nonprofit corporation in Utah, its name must be unique. You can easily check if your chosen name is available by performing a search using the Utah Business Name 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 incorporate 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.

If you need help with getting a logo for your nonprofit, try branding your business with our Free Logo Generator! Get a unique logo in minutes and start building your nonprofit’s brand immediately.

Web and Social Media Search

A strong social media presence will play a key role in expanding your reach to potential donors or 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 4: Register Your Nonprofit Name

After you choose your nonprofit’s name and confirm its availability, the next step involves registering the organization’s name. You have a few options to achieve a name registration:

Recommended: Read our full, step-by-step guide on How to Register a Business Name in Utah.

File for a Name Reservation

In Utah, domestic nonprofit corporations are not required to file for a name reservation before incorporation. However, reserving a name can prove beneficial — especially if you aren’t ready to incorporate, but want to ensure the availability of your chosen name.

To file a corporate name reservation in the state of Utah:

Name reservations for nonprofit corporations in Utah last 120 days and can be renewed by filing another application along with a $22 filing fee once it expires.

Form a Corporation

Incorporating is the most common way to organize a nonprofit and, once you select a name, it’s the next step in making your nonprofit official. Forming a corporation in Utah involves a few easy steps:

  1. Name Your Corporation
  2. Choose a Registered Agent
  3. Choose Your Corporation’s Initial Directors and Share Structure
  4. File the Formation Documents
  5. Get an EIN

File for a DBA Name

Filing an assumed name, also called a doing business as (DBA) name, in Utah allows your nonprofit to operate using a different name than its legal, registered business name. This can prove especially helpful if you want to change the name of an existing organization without filing an amendment to your Articles of Incorporation.

To learn how to file a DBA or assumed name in Utah, check out our step-by-step guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I start a nonprofit corporation in Utah?

To officially incorporate a nonprofit in Utah, you must file the Articles of Incorporation with the Division of Corporations and Commercial Code. You also must complete several other essential steps before you file that formation document, which you can find in our step-by-step guide to starting a nonprofit in Utah.

How much does it cost to start a nonprofit in Utah?

Filing the Articles of Incorporation for a domestic nonprofit in Utah requires a filing fee of $22 as well as an additional $30 processing fee.

How do I find nonprofits in Utah?

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

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