The North Carolina Nonprofit Assistance Manual is provided as a resource to attorney volunteers who are assisting pro bono clients interested in forming nonprofit organizations. This Manual is a starting point and is not intended to be the sole resource to rely on in providing legal assistance. It should not be read as containing legal advice or creating an attorney-client relationship.

This manual serves as a reference guide for attorneys providing free legal assistance to small, community-based nonprofit organizations. It provides general legal information (prepared May 2019) and describes the requirements for forming and maintaining a nonprofit corporation in North Carolina. This manual focuses on small organizations that anticipate less than $50,000 in annual gross receipts in their first few years, though elements of the discussion would also apply to larger nonprofits. The scope of this manual is limited to the most common legal issues that practitioners will encounter when assisting an organization with forming and operating a nonprofit corporation in North Carolina.

Nonprofit organizations may organize as unincorporated associations, charitable trusts, limited liability companies, or nonprofit corporations. This manual addresses only nonprofit corporations, which are the most common type of nonprofit entity.

Thanks to the UNC School of Law Community Development Law Clinic and student authors Jordan Bernstein ’19, Joseph Fields ’19, Matthew Higgins ’19, and Natalie Minois ’19 for preparing this manual’s content.

The North Carolina Nonprofit Assistance Manual

Section 1: Is a Nonprofit Corporation Right for You?
Section 2: What is Your Corporate Purpose and Will It Qualify for Tax-Exempt Status?
Section 3: How to Form A Nonprofit Corporation Under North Carolina Law
Section 4: Applying for 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Status
Section 5: Keeping Tax-Exempt Status (Ethical Requirements)
Section 6: Other Legal Considerations

Prepared May 2019