How to Start a Nonprofit

As a membership association for nonprofits, the Center for Nonprofit Advancement provides a full range of support and services to nonprofit organizations who have received their tax exempt status from the IRS. The Center does not provide direct technical assistance to those starting a nonprofit.

Non-member organizations and members of the community are invited to register for our more than 100 courses and events on a range of management topics. You may also sign up for our free e-newsletter with resources and information for nonprofits in greater Washington.

Organizations that have submitted their Form 1023 to the IRS, may apply to join the Center.

Please note that legal status for enrollment in specific Center benefits may vary.

Additional information on starting a nonprofit may be found online at:

Learn more about other Metropolitan Washington nonprofit capacity building organizations.

Where to begin when starting a nonprofit organization based in D.C., Maryland and Virginia:

Federal & Local Registration Internal Revenue Service - 800-829-1040. Ask for the following publications:

  • Form 1023 Tax Exempt Application
  • Form SS-4 Receive an Employer Identification Number
  • Form 2848 Power of Attorney Form
  • Form 8718 User Fee for Exempt Organizations Application
  • Publication 557 Booklet of IRS Laws that Effect Nonprofit Organizations
  • Form 990/990EZ Annual IRS Form for Tax-Exempt Organizations

Nonprofits in the District of Columbia also require a Basic Business License.  For more information on acquiring a Basic Business License, contact the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.