That sounds like a nice business venture. You should consult an attorney to determine the best type of organization and also to comply with statutory regulations relating to non profits such as IRC 501(c)3 and MGL c 180. Best of luck.
The above is NOT legal advice, and is NOT intended to be legal advice. No Attorney-Client relationship is created through the above answer.
The best advice anyone can give you is that you have a lot of specific and complex questions, do not trust what you can look up on wikipedia, sit down offline with a local attorney that has experience with tax exempt entities. There are a lot of balls to juggle in the air and you want someone who knows your situation and objectives intimately to be advising you. You can use the avvo lawyer search to find a local lawyer.
Best of luck
There is NO attorney-client privilege based on this interaction. I am NOT your attorney. We have no signed engagement letter with a clear understanding regarding fees. Further, everything we both just wrote is publicly available on the internet and would be the same as if we were talking in a crowded restaurant, there are many witnesses looking over your shoulder and can repeat anything you write here. If you need legal assistance use Avvo to find a local attorney in your jurisdiction that you feel can best represent your interests as a zealous advocate. My experience is in corporate tax, white collar criminal defense, partnership tax, and tax controversy/litigation. If you're being audited by the IRS or state taxing authority, or you are taking an unusually risky tax position on a return, that is the kind of thing you should have experienced counsel on your side and we can set up an initial consultation. If you have a family law, debt collection, violent crime sort of issue then I do not handle that. Do not contact me for an initial consultation on non-tax matters.
The benefit of forming a non-profit entity under 501(c)(3) of the IRS code is that you can solicit donations from the general public, and those donations are tax deductible to the donating party.
As a legal entity, the non-profit corporation would need to comply with state and federal laws, including naming a board of directors, fiduciary duties and reporting requirements. But they are a great way to provide charitable services.
How quickly one can be formed will depend on how complicated the organization will be. You have to register the entity with the Secretary of State by filing Articles of Organization, and you have to complete a 1023 application and submit it to the IRS for approval of tax exempt status.
It is also recommended that the entity draft bylaws that spell out the internal governing rules of the organization, including when/where annual meetings will be held, what constitutes a quorum so that the board can act, how to elect/remove directors, etc.
I would suggest consulting with an attorney to answer your specific questions and to help you out with the formation.
Hope this is helpful. Best of luck.
This answer is in response to a general legal question and is intended for informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice. Use of this website and its e-mail link does not create an attorney-client relationship with Attorney Mekdsy. Messages with confidential information should not be sent to Attorney Mekdsy via the e-mail link. The information provided in this answer must not be used as a substitute for consulting with an attorney. Brian Mekdsy is licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts only.