Why Incorporate? Being incorporated strengthens your group’s identity in the community and increases the organization’s status. Being incorporated sends the message that the group has serious purposes and is going to be around for a long time. By incorporating, you also become eligible for funding from various sources which can only fund incorporated groups.
Information You Will Need You will need to gather the following information to include in your incorporation packet.
- The official name of the group. It is good to have a first choice name and an alternative since your first choice may already be taken by some other organization in New York State.
- The address where you will receive mail for the corporation.
- The names and addresses of your group’s Board of Directors. Three or four people usually need to be identified.
- The purpose of the group needs to be spelled out in written form, such as:The purpose of ABC Foster and Adoptive Parent Association is to conduct public relations, recruitment, and communication activities to educate the public about the need for foster and adoptive families; provide telephone and electronic information and referral services to assist prospective parents through the foster care or adoption process; provide socialization, information sharing and training opportunities/events for (perhaps insert agency or county name) foster/adoptive families and children; advocate for improved servicesavailable to children in foster care and adoptive families; and promote increased citizen involvement in local service planning and delivery. See more information about describing your corporation purposes
- The filing fee for a not-for-profit certificate of incorporation is $75, payable to the Secretary of State. There is a $10 fee for a pre-filing corporation name reservation; a $10.00 fee for a certified copy of the filed certificate of incorporation; and a $25 fee for expedited handling.
- Attorneys’ fees may range between $300 and $600. If you decide to use an attorney, look for someone who will do the incorporation pro bono (without charge) or at a reduced rate. Look first to a lawyer you’ve already worked with or one who has done incorporation filings for one of your members. An attorney is not necessary to complete the process. See below for information on “Do-It-Yourself” incorporation.
Several the Coalition parent support groups have successfully completed the incorporation process by themselves without using an attorney. See a helpful brochure at http://www.dos.ny.gov/forms/corporations/1511-f-l_instructions.pdf . If you decide to go this route, here are the steps to follow:
Step #1: It is recommended, but not required, that you begin by filing an “Application for Reservation of Name” with New York State Department of State (DOS). This will reserve your reserve a name for 60 days while you complete your incorporation paperwork, and avoid a delay if you find out there is another New York State corporation with the same name when your your application for a certificate of incorporation is filed with DOS.You can download an application for name reservation on the New York State DOS website. Remember that a notice of approved name application is not a certificate of incorporation, it just means no one else can apply for a certificate for the same name for 60 days. Two extensions are allowed, see DOS website for more info.
Step#2 Obtain a copy of the not-for-profit incorporation form DOS-1511 or download it from the New York State Department of State website at http://www.dos.ny.gov/forms/corporations/1511-f-l.pdf
Step #3: Complete DOS-1511, and make three copies–one for your records, and one each for the steps 4 and 5 described below.
Do not skip steps 4 and 5. Certain corporation purposes, such as the provision of adoption services, the establishment/operation of a substance or alcohol abuse program, or an educational purpose in any way requires that the consent or approval of another state agency be attached to the Certificate of Incorporation when it is submitted to the Department of State for filing. Getting any required state agency approval prior to filing your certificate will significantly shorten and expedite the approval process. State Education and New York State OCFS are the agencies whose sign off you will most likely need. See more information about describing your corporation purposes.
Step# 4: Send one copy of the completed form DOS-1511 , $10, and a cover letter to the State Education Department. (The cover letter can simply say, “Enclosed please find the $10 fee and a copy of (name of group’s) not-for-profit incorporation form DOS-1511 for your review.” Be sure to date and sign your letter, and keep a copy of it for your records.) Mail to: State Education Department, Office of Counsel, Education Building, Room 148, Albany, NY 12234. (518) 473-8296
Step #5: Send another copy of the completed form DOS-1511 (no fee required) and a cover letter (Keep a copy for your records.) to the New York State Office of Children and Family Services for their review. Mail to: John Stupp, Assistant Deputy Counsel, New York State Office of Children and Family Services, 40 North Pearl Street, Albany, NY 12243.
Step#6: Both of these offices will write back to you stating that they have no objection to the filing for incorporation, or perhaps asking you for further clarification. Don’t file your incorporation certificate with the Department of State until you have received a letter from both agencies stating they have no objection to your filing. When you receive the letters, make copies of them for your files.
Step #7: Mail the original completed incorporation form DOS-1511 , a $75 filing fee, the originals of both letters from the above organizations, and a cover letter (Again, keep a copy for your records.).
Mail to: New York State Department of State, Bureau of Corporations, 41 State Street, Albany, NY 12231.
The above should not be construed as legal advice. For legal advice, contact an attorney with experience in not-for-profit incorporation filings.
Contact the Bureau of Corporations at 518-473-2492, if you have questions about your incorporation packet. Additional information about incorporation, tax exempt status or other issues relating to non-for-profit status can be obtained at: