How to File Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation in Maine

Starting a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in Maine is easy — and the first task is filing your Articles of Incorporation. This guide will walk you through the 11 steps required to file the Articles of Incorporation to officially start a nonprofit in Maine.


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Getting Started

To start a domestic nonprofit corporation in Maine, you must file Form MNPCA-6 (D) - Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation. This guide covers each step you must take to fill out this document successfully and get on the right track to forming a Maine nonprofit.

Step 1: List Your Nonprofit’s Name

The first step to filling out the Maine Articles of Incorporation is to list your organization’s name. If you haven’t gone through the process of establishing a name for your organization, here are the requirements for naming a nonprofit in Maine:

  • Your nonprofit’s name must be distinguishable from any other name on record within the state of Maine, including any reserved names.
  • Your nonprofit’s name can’t mislead the public to believe the organization was formed for any other purpose than what’s listed in its Articles of Incorporation.
  • Your nonprofit’s name can’t include any words or phrases considered grossly offensive.
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Recommended: For a step-by-step guide to naming your nonprofit corporation in Maine, read our guide on How to Name a Nonprofit in Maine.

Search the Availability of Your Name

After selecting potential names — ideally, at least four or five — it’s important to search for their availability in your state. You can do this by conducting the four recommended searches outlined below, or use our 501(c)(3) Lookup Table.

Maine Corporate Name Search
To operate in Maine, a nonprofit corporation must have a unique name. You can easily check if your chosen name is available by performing a search using the Maine corporate name search tool.

Domain Name Search
We strongly recommend that you also check to see if your business name is available as a web domain (URL). Even if you don't plan to create a business website today, you may want to buy the web address to prevent others from acquiring that domain name. It’s a free search.

Find a Domain Now

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Federal Trademark Search
You can easily check if someone already trademarked your chosen nonprofit name by using the federal Trademark Electronic Search System. This is important even if you don’t plan to form your nonprofit right away.

Once you confirm that no one else already trademarked your chosen name, you can apply for a trademark for your nonprofit.

Web and Social Media Search
A strong social media presence will play a key role in expanding your reach to potential donors as well as clients that will use your services. That makes it important to search the web and popular social media platforms for your desired name before registering it to ensure it’s available on all the platforms where you plan to promote your organization.

Step 2: Describe Your Nonprofit’s Purpose

Confirm whether your nonprofit is a public benefit corporation or a mutual benefit corporation by checking the appropriate box and then describing its purpose.

Keep in mind, your nonprofit’s purpose must include one or more of the following characteristics to be eligible for 501(c)(3) status:

  • Charitable
  • Religious
  • Educational
  • Scientific
  • Literary
  • Testing for public safety
  • Fostering national/international amateur sports competition
  • Preventing cruelty to animals/children

Step 3: Choose a Registered Agent

A registered agent is required to file the Articles of Incorporation in Maine. Either a commercial registered agent (CRA) or a noncommercial registered agent may fill this role. A registered agent’s responsibilities include accepting and forwarding service of process documents for the corporation as well as serving as a point of contact for the entity. Your corporation can’t serve as its own registered agent.

Requirements for this section include:

  • Commercial Registered Agent – List their name and CRA Public Number
  • Noncommercial Registered Agent – List their name, physical address (this can’t include a P.O. Box), and a mailing address if it differs from their physical address
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Recommended: Using an affordable registered agent service offers many benefits. For more information on choosing a registered agent service, read our full guide.

Step 4: Obtain Consent From Your Registered Agent

By filing your Articles of Incorporation with the state, you are confirming that you have received your registered agent’s consent to their appointment.

Step 5: Disclose the Number of Directors on Your Board of Directors

In article five, disclose the number of directors that will serve on your nonprofit’s board. The minimum number is three.

For a complete guide to forming your nonprofit’s board of directors, read our How to Develop a Board of Directors for a Nonprofit in Maine article.

Step 6: Confirm Any Members

In article six, confirm whether or not your nonprofit will have members by checking the appropriate box.

If your organization will have one or more classes of members, you must include an attachment with all the information required by 13-B MRSA §402.

Step 7: Confirm the Nature of Your Nonprofit’s Activities (Optional)

Article seven gives you the option of confirming that no substantial part of your nonprofit corporation’s activities will relate to propaganda, political campaigns, or attempting to influence legislation.

Check this box if this article will apply to your nonprofit entity.

Step 8: Provide Any Additional Attachments (Optional)

Check the box in article eight if you plan to include any additional attachments, such as statements to support your nonprofit’s eligibility for 501(c)(3) status per the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requirements.

To qualify for 501(c)(3) status, your nonprofit’s Articles of Incorporation must include a description of how the organization’s assets will be distributed upon its dissolution.

Distribution of assets upon dissolution must be for approved, tax-exempt purposes only. For more information about the requirements of dissolution and 501(c)(3) status, refer to the sixth section of the IRS’ suggested language for corporations and associations.

Step 9: Provide Your Incorporator Information and Signatures

You must include the name, address, and signature of at least one incorporator in this section of your Articles of Incorporation.

If you have a corporate incorporator, provide that corporation’s name, principal business address, and a signature of an officer of the corporation.

Step 10: Complete Your Filer Contact Cover Letter

Fill out your Filer Contact Cover Letter with the following information:

  • Your nonprofit’s name
  • A list of the included filings (e.g., your Articles of Incorporation, Registered Agent Statement of Appointment form, any additional attachments, etc.)
  • Any special handling request (e.g., hold for pick up or expedited filing)
  • The total filing fee(s) enclosed
  • A contact for this filing, including the person’s name, email address, and phone number
  • A return address for the filing

Step 11: File Formation Documents

You can only file your Maine Articles of Incorporation by mail.

File the Maine Articles of Incorporation

File by Mail With the Maine Secretary of State

Download Form

Fee: $40

Mailing Address:
Secretary of State
Division of Corporations, UCC and Commissions
101 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0101

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I start a nonprofit corporation in Maine?

To start a nonprofit corporation in Maine, you must file the Domestic Nonprofit Corporation Articles of Incorporation with the Maine Secretary of State.

How much does it cost to start a nonprofit in Maine?

Filing the Articles of Incorporation for a domestic nonprofit corporation in Maine costs $40.

How do I find nonprofits in Maine?

Use our handy Maine 501(c)(3) Lookup Table to find nonprofits in Maine. You can use this tool to see if your preferred nonprofit name is in use or not.

Maine Nonprofit Quick Links

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