Ohio nonprofits have organization options, too

In Business Organizations by Coolidge Wall

Not all businesses have the same goal. Some people start a small business to try to turn a profit each year, expanding both the business and the owners’ personal income.

Others want to create a nonprofit to serve the community in some way. In Ohio, a nonprofit organization can serve a charitable, educational, religious, scientific or community development purpose.

Just as with for-profit businesses, state law contains several options for organizing as a nonprofit. The most popular form is the nonprofit corporation. To incorporate, the owner must file Initial Articles of Incorporation with the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office. The document must include, at a minimum, the nonprofit’s name, where its principal office will be located, the organization’s purpose, and the signature of the person creating the corporation.

Another option is organizing your nonprofit as an unincorporated association. Though this avoids the organization process, Ohio law still requires you to draw up an organizational document known as a constitution. An unincorporated association must also create bylaws to cover matters like rules governing the organization’s operation, and the powers and duties of the officers and trustees.

Though an unincorporated nonprofit can conduct its activities in Ohio without incorporating, it must register its name with the Secretary of State. The organization may also choose to submit a statement appointing an agent to receive service of process.

How to organize your nonprofit depends on many factors, and your choice could have implications you may not realize. An experienced business law attorney’s advice could be invaluable.