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Project: Form the Legal Container


Project: Form the Legal Container

Look at you, getting all official. Now for a way for your organization to interact with the rest of the world. We do this by creating a legal container. This allows you to do things like protect the participating individuals and to set up a bank account.

Choose a Name
Role who does itCore team with ratification from the membership.
DescriptionWhat name will represent you for ALL TIME? Make sure it has to do with your core values, is an available domain name, is easily shortened if it's not already short. What will the acronym be? If it takes more than 2 rounds of discussion, you're probably overthinking it.
Estimated Time2 days
Level of EffortMedium
File Articles of Incorporation
Role who does itSecretary

Filing the Articles of Incorporation is what creates your organization with your home state. This is making the legal non-profit entity that you will operate as a business. Most states have fairly inexpensive filing fees and a simple process of filing "Articles of Incorporation."

Typically, articles include:

  1. Name - what do you call it? (See above.)
  2. Governing Statutes (this varies by state, but the state will provide the number of the statute right on the form.)
  3. Registered Agent - who's legally the "go to" person, and where does the state send letters?
  4. Mailing address / Street address
  5. Have Members or Not Have Members: We strongly recommend you choose a type that DOES NOT have members. Don't confuse this with 'we have members of our space.' This is about choosing something that legally works like a co-op vs. somethign that works like a non-profit. Laws vary from state to state.
  6. Names of Three Directors (who are the founders, but don't need to remain on the board.)

To find the form you need, use a search term like this:

[name of state] non-profit articles of incorporation

Here is a list of the PDF links by state: Articles of Incorporation By State

Estimated Time1 day
Level of EffortMedium
Obtain a Tax Identification Number
Role who does itSecretary and Treasurer

Get this from the IRS here:,,id=102767,00.html

This will let you:

  • Open a bank account
  • Do business in general
Estimated Time1 day
Level of EffortEasy


Need help?


The notebook section provides a way for you to store and share information with your group members. With the book feature you can:

  • Add book pages and organize them hierarchically into different books.
  • Attach files to pages to share them with others.
  • Track changes that others have made and revert changes as necessary.
  • Archive books that are no longer of interest to the group. Archived books can be reactivated later if needed.