How to Start a Nonprofit in Wyoming

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

Step 1: Name Your Wyoming Nonprofit
Step 2: Choose Your Registered Agent
Step 3: Select Your Board Members & Officers
Step 4: Adopt Bylaws & Conflict of Interest Policy
Step 5: File the Articles of Incorporation
Step 6: Get an EIN
Step 7: Apply for 501c3

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Starting a 501c3 Nonprofit in Wyoming Is Easy

Starting your own nonprofit is the perfect way to give back to your community. If you’re looking to establish your organization in Wyoming, it’s helpful to know about the organizations that are in the state and what they do. 

Though it’s the least-populated state, Wyoming is still home to 5,332 nonprofit organizations. Of those, 840 are located in Cheyenne, and another 608 can be found in Casper. These nonprofits employ 20,776 people and bring in over $3 billion in revenue annually. They have combined assets of over $8 billion. 

Two nonprofits in the state employ over 1,000 people, and there are 714 who employ less than 10. Many employ more, though, with 167 employing between 11 and 25, 110 employing between 26 and 100, and 47 employing between 101 and 1,000. 

Many nonprofits start off small. This is reflected in the fact that around 1,163 in Wyoming earn $250,000 or less annually in revenue. That said, there are four nonprofits bringing in over $100 million annually, and there are 14 that earn $25 million to $100 million each year. 

The largest nonprofits in the state of Wyoming include:

  • Wyoming Medical Center
  • Ivinson Memorial Hospital
  • University of Wyoming Foundation
  • Liana Foundation

The largest employers tend to be general hospitals, senior centers, vocational rehabilitation programs, developmentally disabled centers, and environmental education programs. 

Finally, if you’re not sure what you want to do, consider an underserved niche. In Wyoming, international-focused, social science, and scientific research centers are least common, meaning there could be space for your nonprofit to grow.

To start a 501c3 tax-exempt nonprofit organization in Wyoming, you must first start a nonprofit in Wyoming 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 Wyoming Nonprofit

The first step toward opening your nonprofit in Wyoming is making sure you choose the right name. The name needs to meet the state requirements, and it should be one that people can easily search for and remember.

Check out our guide to Wyoming nonprofit names for a closer look at the naming process.

1. Follow the naming guidelines set by the state:

  • You cannot name your company anything that suggests it was formed for reasons other than what you stated in your Articles of Incorporation
  • Certain words, such as “college,” “bank,” “institution,” “trust,” or “academy,” require approval from the state’s Department of Education or Division of Banking.

You can take a look at the Wyoming state statutes for all the rules for naming your Wyoming-based organization.

2. Check the name’s availability in Wyoming. Perform a Business Filing Search on the Secretary of State’s website to make sure no business is using the name you want.

3. Check the name’s URL availability. You’ll want to buy your business name as a web domain. Though you might not be ready to build a website now, buying the domain right away prevents others from using it and keeps it for you when you are ready to build your site.

After selecting the right name and URL, it’s time to find a professional service to help you form your nonprofit with the State of Wyoming. We recommend using a company with a history of success:

Northwest ($29 + State Fees)

Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent in Wyoming

You are required to nominate a registered agent for your Wyoming-based organization.

What is a registered agent? A registered agent is an individual or organization that accepts legal documents on your behalf. They are the main point of contact with the state.

You can choose one of several people or organizations as your registered agent. You can opt to use a registered agent service, for example, or fulfill the role yourself. You can also have anyone who is working with your nonprofit be the registered agent, choose a Wyoming-based corporation to take over the role or nominate a Wyoming resident.

For more details on finding the right agent, read our How to Choose a Registered Agent for Your Wyoming Nonprofit guide.

Step 3: 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 Wyoming 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.

Unless otherwise noted in the bylaws, Wyoming requires that the nonprofit’s officers include:

  • A president
  • A secretary
  • A treasurer

Officers can hold multiple titles if the bylaws allow for it.

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

Step 4: Adopt Bylaws & Conflict of Interest Policy

Before you can apply for 501c3 status, you need to make sure you create a conflict of interest policy and bylaws for your nonprofit. 

  • Bylaws: Any rules that dictate the way your organization will be operated. 
  • Conflict of interest policy: A policy that makes certain that your board of directors or officers make decisions that benefit the nonprofit rather than individuals (such as themselves).

Keep in mind that you will need to adopt both the conflict of interest policy and your bylaws when you choose and establish the board of directors and officers at your first organizational meeting.

Step 5: File the Wyoming Articles of Incorporation

To register your nonprofit, you will need to file the Articles of Incorporation with the State of Wyoming.

To ensure that your nonprofit is eligible to apply for 501c3, in the Articles of Incorporation 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 Incorporation

Option 1: File online with the state of Wyoming

File Online

– OR –

Option 2: File by mail

Download Form

State Filing Cost: $25

Mail to:
Wyoming Secretary of State
Herschler Building East, Suite 101
122 W 25th Street
Cheyenne, WY 82002-0020

To learn more, read our How to File Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation in Wyoming guide.

Step 6: Get an EIN

Your nonprofit will need to get an EIN from the IRS for tax purposes.

EIN stands for Employer Identification Number, which refers to the number used by the federal government to recognize and identify your nonprofit as its own entity. Just as you have a Social Security number, your business will have an EIN. This number is also sometimes referred to as a Federal Tax Identification Number (FTIN).

Once you have an EIN, you can open a bank account as your nonprofit. You can also hire people to work with your nonprofit and pay taxes on the nonprofit’s behalf. 

Getting an EIN yourself is simple — just reach out to the IRS for your EIN after you complete the business formation process. It’s free, and you can request it by mail or online.

Take a look at our EIN Lookup guide for more information.

Step 7: 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 Incorporation with the required provisions (As covered in Step 5)
  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. 

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 acknowledgment 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. 

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