Changing your nonprofit name requires some legal documentation, but you don't need to be a lawyer to get it done. To change your nonprofit name, amend the Articles of Incorporation with the state, indicate the new name on your IRS tax form and alert stakeholders to the name change.
Amend the Articles of Incorporation
In order to change your name with the state, you must amend your Articles of Incorporation. Obtain nonprofit amendment instructions from your Secretary of State website, create a Certificate of Amendment and mail the completed document to the address listed in the form instructions.
Read the state instructions carefully to ensure your certificate is properly formatted and contains all of the necessary information. For example, California requires four distinct paragraphs in a Certificate of Amendment and the signature of both the president and secretary of the board.
Change Your Name With the IRS
Next time the nonprofit files its annual Form 990, alert the IRS to your name change. To do this, check the Name Change box in box B at the top of the form and write your new nonprofit name in box C. You must include a copy of your Certificate of Amendment and proof that you filed the amendment with your Secretary of State.
If you e-file your return, fax or mail this information to the IRS customer service department for charitable organizations. Make sure the letter or fax includes your old nonprofit name, the new nonprofit name, the nonprofit Employer Identification number and a signature from an authorized officer or trustee.
Change Your Name Publicly
Alert nonprofit stakeholders that your nonprofit name has changed. Change your name on social media accounts and order new office supplies that reflect your new name. Send a letter to your donors, clients and vendors explaining the change.
The charity database Guidestar.com won't update your nonprofit name until it's registered with the IRS. In the meantime, you can add a Doing Business As, so stakeholders can find you on the site.
Based in San Diego, Calif., Madison Garcia is a writer specializing in business topics. Garcia received her Master of Science in accountancy from San Diego State University.