Updated: Mar 10, 2022
Before we begin I would like to clear up one common misconception about non-profits. Just because they are called "non-profit" does not mean that you can't make money running one or working for one. A "for-profit" company works to sell products or services for the purposes of making profits for shareholders, stakeholders etc. A non-profit seeks to fulfill a purpose and cannot generate revenue for the purposes of making a profit. Appropriate purposes are listed below. The most common being charity or education. You can still have full or part time employees and you can decide how much you want to pay them. Keep in mind you won't make it very far if you chew up all your funds trying to fill your bank account. Not only is it impractical, its kind of shady and the IRS will be watching lol
Superior Rabbitry as previously mentioned is a non-profit organization dedicated primarily to the rescue, rehoming and education on the subject of rabbits. You do not have to be a 501c3 in order to be a non profit, but it does help. Superior Rabbitry has several rescue and rehomed animals, mostly rabbits and a few exotic cats, and we have fund raising to that end. However, because we are not a 501c3 we do not receive any tax exemptions for the parts of our property used for non profit purposes and the fund raising we do is taxed.
What that means is by filing a 501c3 you become incorporated with your state as a non-profit. Anyone who donates to you will get tax write offs, you're added to a list of state incorporated non-profits so when people search for non-profits to donate to your non-profit shows up and finally it comes with a number of tax benefits. Most rabbitries are non-profits, but few are 501c3. Examples of places in the rabbit world that are non-profits and are 501c3 include rabbit rescues and ARBA.
There are a number of requirements to file for 501c3 that are important to note now so that you even have the opportunity to file later. You have to be a part of a group that qualifies for tax exemption from the IRS such as:
Prevention of Cruelty (both humans and non-humans)
And you need to meet these requirements:
Avoid any purpose that praises or calls for discrimination;
Must have obtained an official status as an association, corporation, or trust;
Provide a reason for their desire to seek tax exemption;
Three-years of existence before applying;
Earnings and funds raised by the outlet can’t benefit a sole member;
Profits must be used for charitable activities;
Political involvement should be avoided;
Sole purpose is to meet public needs.
After all that you may file, so you will need these things in this order:
To name your non profit making sure it is not in conflict with the name of another non profit
Choose your registering agent. This is your business point of contact for legal documents and state documents. I recommend a lawyer for most of this process, but especially this part.
Select your board members and officers. This is pretty straight forward.
Adopt bylaws and conflict of interest policy. Again pretty straightforward, its just a list of rules that govern your organization.
File Articles of Confederation.
Get an EIN. This is the Employment Identification Number which is the social security number of your non-profit. Its used to hire employees should you need them.
Finally you file the 501c3 with the state. Its taken you 3 years to get to this point and a lot of blood sweat and tears, but you've finally arrived.
This is a long and arduous process which is why so few exist and why the few that do are so large. I am about a year into my climb up this unruly convoluted nightmare of a bureaucratic mountain. I look forward to the day when I start getting recognition and tax breaks and grants to help move my cause along. I raise rabbits for every purpose you can imagine. The most important of which is to make the world a little batter place using cute fuzzy animals to brighten peoples day.