Consumer Protection Division
Reserve a Corporate Name
A nonprofit corporation's name is part of its identity. A descriptive and easily-recognized name can be crucial to a nonprofit's ability to raise funds, attract volunteers, and secure other resources to support its mission. Indiana law requires a nonprofit corporation's name to be stated in its Articles of Incorporation, which must be filed with the Indiana Secretary of State to incorporate the nonprofit. Given the importance of a name, one of the first steps when incorporating should be to reserve the name under which the nonprofit corporation will operate. Reserving the name will ensure it is available to be used once other initial steps to form the nonprofit corporation are completed. Although the chance another organization will incorporate using the name chosen for the nonprofit corporation being formed may seem low, the importance of the name and the ease and low cost of reserving it make it a good idea to check its availability and reserve it for future use.
CHECKING A NAME'S AVAILABILITY AND RESERVING IT FOR USE WHEN INCORPORATING
To help determine whether a name is "available" - that is, whether it is free to use for incorporation or whether it is already in use and so cannot be used, The Indiana Secretary of State maintains a searchable database, along with other resources for starting a business. Visit INBiz.in.gov, your one-stop resource for registering your business and ensuring it complies with state laws and regulations.
GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR CORPORATE NAMES
Indiana law requires each nonprofit corporation to have a name that is distinguishable from the names of other corporations operating in Indiana. See Indiana Code section 23-0.5-3-1 et. seq.
For further information on the topics discussed on this page, see:
- Indiana Code chapter 23-0.5-3
(describing the requirements for corporate names)
- Indiana Code section 23-17-3-2
(requiring the corporate name as part of a nonprofit corporation's Articles of Incorporation
- Indiana Secretary of Stat's Starting a Business Resources on INBiz-