The Requirements to Start a Non-Profit Business in South Carolina

By Heather Frances J.D.

Nonprofit businesses provide important services for communities, such as giving support to low-income families or raising awareness of important social issues. While you can do these things as an individual, organizing as a nonprofit allows others to help you operate your charity and encourages donations more effectively. Typically, South Carolina nonprofits are organized as nonprofit corporations.

Nonprofit businesses provide important services for communities, such as giving support to low-income families or raising awareness of important social issues. While you can do these things as an individual, organizing as a nonprofit allows others to help you operate your charity and encourages donations more effectively. Typically, South Carolina nonprofits are organized as nonprofit corporations.

Initial Steps

Select a name for your organization before you file paperwork to incorporate it. Your name cannot be the same, or very similar to, that of another registered nonprofit, since South Carolina requires each corporate name to be distinguishable from other corporate names. The Secretary of State's website provides a search field for you to look up corporate filings to determine whether your proposed nonprofit name is already in use. You also must decide on the type of nonprofit you want your organization to be: public benefit corporation, religious corporation or a mutual benefit corporation. For example, a church would likely file as a religious corporation.

Ready to form a nonprofit? Get Started Now

Articles of Incorporation

To form a nonprofit corporation, you must file articles of incorporation with the South Carolina Secretary of State; these forms are available on the Secretary of State’s website. The articles contain basic information about your nonprofit, including its name, the name of the nonprofit’s registered agent, the organization's main office address and a plan to distribute its assets should the nonprofit dissolve. The registered agent and all incorporators must sign all of the articles. You must submit the articles of incorporation in duplicate by mail or in person to the Secretary of State, along with filing fees and a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

Organizational Meeting

After you file the articles of incorporation, South Carolina law requires your nonprofit’s initial directors to call an organizational meeting to appoint officers, adopt bylaws to govern operations and carry on other initial business. If your articles do not name initial directors, the nonprofit’s incorporators still must hold this meeting to elect directors and officers. The incorporators can then adopt bylaws and complete the nonprofit’s organization, or they can allow the newly elected directors to complete the organization.

Bylaws

Your nonprofit’s bylaws establish the basic rules for managing operations. Typically, bylaws address the roles of directors, members and officers, including their required qualifications, powers and duties. Bylaws also contain provisions regarding how vacancies should be filled and how officers and directors should vote. Bylaws can establish committees to operate within the nonprofit, address how bank accounts should be established and describe dissolution procedures should the nonprofit cease to operate. Under South Carolina law, the rules that govern your nonprofit’s structure are considered bylaws even if you call them something else.

Ready to form a nonprofit? Get Started Now
The Process of a Nonprofit Incorporation in Pennsylvania

References

Related articles

Characteristics of Good Bylaws for a Non-Profit

Nonprofits often implement bylaws to ensure their resources are used efficiently and their charitable purposes fulfilled. Bylaws are the written rules and procedures that a nonprofit adopts and uses when conducting its operations and should define the purpose of the nonprofit. Some states require a nonprofit to have bylaws, and of those states, some also require that nonprofits file their bylaws with a state agency. A nonprofit may prepare its bylaws on its own or use an online legal documentation service.

501(c)(3) Incorporation Laws

Nonprofit organizations that can claim federal income tax exemption under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal revenue Code comply with two sets of laws. The nonprofit is formed under the incorporation statute of a particular state. Each state has its own nonprofit incorporation statute, but they are all substantially similar. The incorporated nonprofit can then apply with the Internal Revenue Service for 501(c)(3) status for recognition as a tax-exempt entity.

Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation in Florida

The Florida Not for Profit Corporations statute controls the formation of nonprofits operating in the state. A new nonprofit must file articles of incorporation with the Florida Department of State to begin its corporate existence. The articles must comply with the state statute, which lists information that must be included in the articles as a minimum for the state to accept the document and optional information that can be included in the articles if the organizers want to limit the nonprofit's operating authority.

Doing the right thing has never been easier.

Related articles

How to Incorporate a Non-Profit Ministry

Ministries are often operated under the guidance and nonprofit status of an affiliated church. When structured in this ...

How to Incorporate a Charity

If you operate a charity and want to incorporate it, the process in most states is similar to incorporating a ...

The Texas Non Profit Corporation Act

Nonprofit corporations in Texas are governed by Chapter 22 of the Texas Business Organizations Code. Though forming a ...

How to Start a Nonprofit Corporation in the State of Missouri

Missouri law allows nonprofit corporations to engage in a variety of activities, such as religious, charitable and ...

Browse by category