The State of Colorado has a wide arrange of online resources to help non-profits register names and get licensing. There are three main entities you must become familiar with if you are running a non-profit in Colorado. It is very important to become familiar with these websites. There are a lot of websites that will try to look like they are these entities. Save yourself time and money, visit (and bookmark) the pages referenced in this article.
Colorado Secretary of State
The entity where you will be filing information is the Secretary of State. Their homepage is: http://www.sos.state.co.us/
Spend some time on this page. They offer a lot of resources and information, but their website is a bit confusing. Explore their website until you are no longer confused. Spend at least 10 minutes becoming familiar with this website (minimum), it will save you a lot of time and effort down the road.
There are sections for licenses, to file documents, and to search to see if a name is available. Do not let the information overwhelm you. Take each piece of information by itself, until you understand everything on the webpage.
SCORE is another a great resource. Sponsored by the SBA (Small Business Administration) they provide a lot of free resources for individuals starting businesses in Colorado.
Their website is: http://www.score.org/index.html
I have found some of their classes worthless, and some eye opening. With the free barrel of apples SCORE provides, throw out the bad apples and keep the good.
The SBA is the third entity you should become familiar with. Their website is: http://www.sba.gov/
If you successfully reviewed all of those websites you may have encountered this webpage: The small business guide. The most amazing piece of literature in print regarding having a business in Colorado. Some web designer decided to break the guide into many annoying PDF’s that are hard to navigate. Do not let this prevent you from reviewing this information!
At the very least review the PDF for “Legal Structure and Registration”. It gives you the basic building blocks to understand some of the choices you are going to have to make before starting a non-profit.
You can always call SCORE to get a free magazine version (which you should do so you have it on record), but the PDF versions are available now which is a definite advantage.