Forming a nonprofit corporation is much like creating a regular corporation, except that nonprofits have to take the extra steps of applying for tax-exempt status with the IRS and their state tax division. Here is what you need to do:
Before you form your nonprofit corporation, you need to decide on a name that complies with the rules of your state's corporate filing office. Check your state's filing office website for your state's rules, but the following guidelines commonly apply:
In many states, you can check corporate name availability online by going to the state's filing office website. Or you can call your state's corporations division and ask whether your proposed name is available for your use. Often, for a small fee, you can reserve the name for a short period of time until you file your articles of incorporation.
In addition to confirming that another corporation in your state isn't already using your proposed name, you must make sure your name won't violate a trademark owned by another company (in your state or out of state). To do this, you'll need to conduct a trademark search. For information about trademark law and name conflicts, see the Your Business Name area of Nolo's website.