The IRS is generous about what is considered a “charitable or educational organization” for 501(c)3 status, so most organizations not designed to generate profit for the founders or officers are eligible.
To get non-profit status, an organization must follow a series of steps and file paperwork with both their state tax authority and the Internal Revenue Service, including articles of incorporation and bylaws. If they also want to be exempt from sales tax, they must file paperwork with their local tax authority. Please contact your state tax assessor’s office for more information on this process because requirements vary.
There are many places to get help and guidance through this process. Please see the resource section for more information.
Though it is possible to complete the process of becoming a non-profit on your own, many lawyers will help for free as a part of their pro bono (free work) portfolio.
To find a local attorney to help with your filing:
During our development Harm Reduction Hacks have collected together a large number of resources from around the web you can find these in our resource folder in Google Docs. We are also always looking for more so help us by suggesting any resources we may have missed.
We do not claim that this is an exhaustive set of strategies, shortcuts, or tips for running an SSP. What we do suggest is that Harm Reduction Hacks offers down-to-earth, practical information for being a better leader, starting and running an SSP, and providing syringe access services. We feel we can say this with confidence because the Hacks are based on interviews with, and the experiences of, literally generations of people who have been doing harm reduction work.
Please note that nothing in this guide should be construed as legal advice. Please consult an attorney local to your area to ensure your program is in compliance with all local, state and federal regulations that apply to your situation.