In the United States, “nonprofit organization” usually refers to an organization that is exempt from taxation under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (US tax code) because it is organized and operated exclusively for charitable, educational or religious purposes. Forming this type of organization involves both a state component (the inderlying entity) and a federal component (federal tax-exemption). The process is the same whether inside or outside college.For the sake of simplicity, here are the steps for setting up a New York 501(c)(3) nonprofit:Gather people to serve as the directors of the nonprofit. New York requires a minimum of three directors. For 501(c)(3)s, at least a majority of the directors should not be related by blood, marriage, adoption or business.Prepare the certificate of incorporation for the New York not-for-profit corporation. It must include the necessary 501(c)(3) language, particularly with respect to the corporation having a 501(c)(3) permitted purpose and for assets to be distributed for 501(c)(3) purposes if the corporation dissolves. File the Certificate with the NY department of state, division of corporations, with the requisite filing fee. We normally pay $25 for the department to file within 24 hours of receipt. If you don't pay to expedite, it can sometimes take months. The corporation is formed when the certificate is filed.Prepare the corporate bylaws, which will address how the nonprofit will be governed, managed and operated.Prepare the necessary policies. New York requires a conflicts of interest policy. For larger organizations, it also requires a whistleblower policy.Hold an initial meeting of directors to adopt the bylaws, ratify the certificate of incorporation, appoint officers, approve 501(c)(3) recognition application, and pass other resolutions such as with respect to bank accounts. The meeting must be recorded in the form of minutes and filed with the corporate minute book.Obtain an employment identification number from the IRS (the U.S. tax authority), either on the IRS website or by filling out SS4.Complete IRS Form 1023, the application for 501(c)(3) recognition. Some organizations also qualify to file Form 1023-EZ, the simplified application. Each form has its own pros and cons.Answer questions and prinformation, if requested by the IRS.Wait. 1023 can take 9 months to a year, sometimes even longer.Hopefully the IRS approves and issues an affirmative determination letter confirming the corporation's status as a 501(c)(3).As appropriate, register as a charity with the office of the New York Attorney General or request an exemption from registration.As desired and appropriate, request New York corporate franchise tax, sales tax and property tax exemptions from the tax department.For more detail, with explanations, on how to form a New York 501(c)(3) nonprofit, feel free to take a look at my blog posting here.