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The following information and documents are a guide to help individuals and organizations start and maintain a nonprofit. The Arctic Slope Community Foundation’s mission is to help improve the quality of life and encourage a culture of giving for the geographical region of the Arctic Slope. In order to fully achieve this mission, ASCF understands that it is in our best interest to have fully functioning organizations across the region (Tribes, Cities, Corporations, Churches, NGOs, etc.). ASCF is not only a granting organization, but also a capacity building organization that provides advising, consulting, and general support for the development of other organizations in the geographical region of the Arctic Slope. 

How to Start a Nonprofit:

Starting a nonprofit organization is no small feat. It often takes 9-15 months to get your IRS 501(c)(3) designation letter, so be prepared for it to take some time. Do not let this discourage you, if it is a worthy cause, then it is needed and important to build the organization to help others. In this document, you will find a step-by-step guide (along with forms and samples) for starting your nonprofit organization, but before you begin you should be able to answer the five questions below.

Who: What is the name of your organization and who is on your Board of Directors? Do you have any employees or volunteers to run your organization?

What: What is the mission of your organization? What is it that you seek to accomplish through your organization’s work? What is it that you do that is charitable in nature?

When: When was your organization established? When does your board meet?

Where: What state and city does your organization operate in? Where is the work carried out? It is good to be aware of the levels of jurisdiction that relate to your organization (Federal, State, Local).

How: How does your organization conduct its mission? How is it funded?

Three basic steps to starting a 501(c) organization:

  1. Apply for 501(c) tax-exempt status:

To submit Form 1023, you must:

  1. Register for an account on

  2. Enter "1023" in the search box and select Form 1023.

  3. Complete the form.


Form 1023-EZ

  2. Get a Federal Tax ID

Apply online to obtain EIN, or Employer Identification Number or fill out the SS-4 PDF application and submit to the IRS.


IRS Form SS-4

  3.Register with the State of Alaska

Prepare Articles of Incorporation and file Articles of Incorporation Form with State of Alaska

Forms & Resources:

Articles of Incorporation Sample

Articles of Incorporation SOA Form


Additional Resources

Council of Nonprofits – Step-by-step guide for developing a nonprofit.

Foraker Group - Offers seminars and workshops on nonprofit development, Alaskan based nonprofit that helps other nonprofits.

State of Alaska Nonprofit FAQsState of Alaska website frequently asked questions on starting and managing a nonprofit organization.

IRS Compliance Guide – Internal Revenue Service Compliance Guide to obtain and keep good status with the IRS

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