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How to set up a non-profit organization in Italy

Updated: May 31, 2023

Author: Irene Gerarduz

Date of Publication: 17/03/2023

To set up a non-profit organization in Italy, firstly, you need a unique idea that distinguishes your group from other similar organizations. What’s more, a well-thought-out plan of action, passion, and commitment are essential to achieve your goals.

Define your Goal

1) Choose a cause

A non-profit organization should be born to aspirefor the common good and have a well- defined goal. However, it is important that your organization’s purpose does not overlap with that of others.

2) Write your organization's manifesto

Once you have established your goals, you have to write a clear and precise statement of your goals. This will help you in the process of setting up your non-profit organization. Yet if you are starting a non-profit organization to solve an immediate need (in your community), it might be helpful to draft a more specific manifesto.

3) Make up a name

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Choose an interesting name that offers a clear picture of what your organization is about. It is important that the name you choose is unique, since it is illegal to register an organization with a name already used by someone else. Thereby you should contact the “Agenzia delle Entrate” to find out if the name already exists.

Register your non-profit organization

1) Write a Statute and Articles of Incorporation for your organization

The Statute and Articles of Incorporation are essential documents for any nonprofit organization. Since they certify its existence and regulate its operation. In fact, they are actual contracts that determine how an organization, and its members have to act and behave. Obviously based on the common purpose for which the organization was founded.

The two texts can also be drafted into a single document.

  • The Articles of Incorporation lays down the main characteristics of the organization. So, this is very important because this is where its non-profit nature is expressed.

  • In the Statute, on the other hand, all information regarding the operation and goals of the organization is presented in detail.

2) Register Statute and Articles of Incorporation

Registering your organization's Statute and Articles of Incorporation isn’t necessary. However, it’s useful if you wish in the future to have access to ONLUS status (Non-Profit Organization of Social Utility). Likewise, if you wish to have your organization registered in provincial or regional registries it’ll help you a lot.

  • you will have to register the Statute and Articles of Incorporation within 20 days of the organization's establishment. If you go to a notary, they will take care of it. Otherwise, you will have to apply in personat the nearest “Agenzia delle Entrate”.

  • 16€ revenue stamps and need to apply for a tax ID number (Codice Fiscale) for your organization. Having a tax ID number isn’t required by law, but it is very significant for the smooth operation of your organization.

  • Likewise, remember that it will be necessary to open a VAT number for your organization, whenever it issues any kind of invoice.

  • In addition to the tax identification number, to register, you will need to submit the following:

  1. 2 copies of the Articles of Incorporation and Statute,

  2. a copy of the applicant's ID card or delegation,

  3. receipt of payment of registration tax (amounting to €200),

  4. 16€ revenuestamps and

  5. properly filled out “Form 69”.

3) Define your company’s hierarchical structure, establish a board of directors, and call the first meeting

Make sure everything is in accordance with the law. As board members, remember to select qualified people who can support your goals and who are willing to attend meetings and take their work seriously.

4) Try to keep the discussion open

Select a group of people who are different from each other,in terms of interests and vocation. Thus you can use as many points of view as possible to strengthen your organization.

Get the “ONLUS” status

1) ONLUS, in Italy, is the acronym used to define “Nonprofit Organizations of Social Utility”.

To obtain this status, you have to meet some special requirements. By the way, bear in mind that this process involves various financial benefits.

2) Requirements needed to gain access to the ONLUS “status”:

Voluntary organizations that are automatically recognized by the state, automatically have access to ONLUS status. Organizations that don’t meet these requirements, on the other hand, will have to register in the single registry by submitting an application to the “Agenziadelle Entrate”.

3) Access the tax benefits provided for an ONLUS

Once you qualify as an ONLUS, your organization may have access to certain tax benefits.

Build a strong organization

1) Hire a team of capable people

Just as in any organization, a nonprofit organization's chances of success or failure depend on the strengths and weaknesses of the individuals who constitute it. Therefore, you must select the most suitable candidates to fill a particular position.

2) Get to know the leaders in your community

Nonprofit organizations are generally dedicated to helping different types of communities. To get to be a respected resource, it is important to get to know the influential people who could potentially support your work and help your fundraising get off the ground.

3) Advertise your organization

Create a good website, manage a Facebook and Twitter account actively. What’s more you can place ads on your social media accounts and the local newspapers or distribute flyers around the town. In short,do whatever you can to make your organization known.

4) Find a way to raise money

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Most of the work of a non-profit organization is to document your goals and progress. Then, the next step is to present the information to potential donors or to apply for a state grant.

To conclude, keep your purpose in mind. Despite the difficulties and all the issues that you will meet on your way as director of an organization. Apart from that, remember your main mission and make sure that the passion that inspired you at the beginning continues to guide you.

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