LegalZoom Nonprofit Reviews

    by Benjamin Aronson
Updated September 12, 2021

Looks like you passed on the idea of forming an LLC and decided that a nonprofit is the best decision for your dream.

If you’re looking for a helpful company to set up your nonprofit, maybe LegalZoom can help. In this review, we explore everything LegalZoom has to offer you and even found some great alternatives. Let’s see if LegalZoom is right for your nonprofit!

Best nonprofit formation services

Top Online Nonprofit Formations Services

Legalzoom icon

LegalZoom

• File Nonprofit for $99 + State Fees
• Highly Experienced Formation Company
• Competitive NonProfit Pricing
• 100% Satisfaction

Incfile logo

Incfile

• File Nonprofit for $0 + State Fees
• FREE Registered Agent Service for a Year
• Trusted by over 500,000+ Businesses
• 100% Transparency

Northwest logo

Northwest

• Form an LLC for $225 + state fees
• Registered Agent Service included ($125)
• Forming Businesses Since 1998
• 100% Error-Free Guarantee

LegalZoom Nonprofit Service Review

Our Methodology

Before diving into LegalZoom, we made it a point to create and follow a set of guidelines:

  • Does LegalZoom provide quality nonprofit services?
  • What are competitors offering?
  • What did customers who have already used LegalZoom nonprofit service have to say?

We kept those principles in mind while we were analyzing LegalZoom’s features, prices, customer support, track record, professionalism, and overall value.

Let’s take a second to understand where LegalZoom offers value to nonprofits, where they fail and if they’re the formation service for you!

LegalZoom Nonprofit Pros

Satisfaction Guarantee

LegalZoom is a formation company that always has the customer in mind. According to their satisfaction guarantee, if you felt that they weren’t helpful, you can get a return within 60 days of purchase.

Cost-Efficient Plans

LegalZoom’s formation plan is quick and streamlined, therefore they are able to offer an affordable and professional formation process. The three plans that are offered usually lack legal advice and attorney exposure so if that’s what you’re interested in they might not be the best service for you. That is how they are able to offer affordable plans.

Website Security

Using an online service when filing important documents can be a bit unsettling with all the Cybercrimes we hear today. LegalZoom’s website is protected by Norton Web Security, a service that scans for threats while keeping your company information safe.

LegalZoom Nonprofit Cons

Customer Reviews

LegalZoom has given service to over a million businesses and nonprofits. Unfortunately, there is a whole mix of reviews in the poor customer service/support arena. It’s important to note that they are a huge organization so take this con with a grain of salt.

↪ Hire LegalZoom Nonprofit Service if:

You’re looking for a company that offers highly professional service and the ability to give additional legal advice if needed. It’s important to note that they will refund their fee within the first 60 days if a customer is not satisfied so there’s really not much of a risk here.

Don’t Hire LegalZoom Nonprofit Service if:

You’re looking for a cheap business service to take care of everything. LegalZoom’s nonprofit packages are diverse. They will file the necessary papers and support your business throughout the process but the base plan doesn’t cover everything, therefore you will need to purchase a more expensive plan.

LegalZoom Nonprofit Pricing

For over two decades, LegalZoom has helped file more than 100,000 nonprofits! They offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee to ensure that the customer gets exactly what’s expected.

LegalZoom provides three nonprofit formation options Economy, Standard, and Express Gold. The costs of the formation range from $99 – $359 plus state filing fees. They also offer additional add services if needed.

LegalZoom Nonprofit Costs By Packages

🥉Economy:

The Economy package costs $99 + state filing fees

This package covers the most basic areas of formation and starts at $99 offering the following:

  • A name availability check
  • Filing of your articles of incorporation
  • Peace of mind review
  • 10 non-customized membership certificates

Estimated processing time: 35 business days

The package is best for:

For those looking to check off the general requirements, this could be a great package for you. If you are interested in a founders kit or you’d like your EIN filed, this wouldn’t be the best plan.

Add on services:

Down the line, you will most likely need additional services. A registered agent is the first requirement that your nonprofit will need as it is required by the state. They normally charge $299 per year. Once you get your organization up and running you will need to file for a Federal Tax ID (EIN), which LegalZoom offers in their Express Gold package.

🥈Standard:

The Standard package costs $239 + state filing fees

The Standard package covers everything mentioned in economy formation plus the following:

  • Delux organizer kit for founders
  • Corporate minutes forms- Record of the Board of Directors/Trustees meetings
  • Customized membership certificates and seal

Estimated processing time: 20 business days

The package is best for:

Anyone looking for authoritative certificates. The Delux founder kit and corporate minutes forms are nice to have, but at an additional $139 we’re not so sure it’s worth the money.

Add on services:

As mentioned above, this plan covers “nice to have” items and you will most like need to hire an agent for service of process and get your EIN filed. If you’d like to start as your own agent that isn’t a problem, just make sure that you update the operating agreement when you decide to change your registered agent.

🥇Express Gold :

The Express Gold package costs $359 + state filing fees

The Express Gold package costs $359 + state fees and offers everything included in the Standard plus the following:

  • Expedited processing with the secretary of state
  • Federal Tax ID (EIN)
  • Express shipping

Estimated processing time: 15 business days

The package is best for:

Entrepeures that want the “one-stop-shop” bargain. If you’re in a hurry to get your entity files, the Express Gold plan is right for you.

Add on services:

The last thing to make sure your nonprofit is in good standing would be to hire a registered agent. That is the one service that is an addon. There are many LegalZoom alternatives like ZenBusiness, Swyft Filings, and Harbor Compliance that offer less expensive services.

Best LegalZoom Package Based on Value for Money for Your Nonprofit

If you don’t mind doing a little bit of work yourself, the Economy plan offers the most value for money. Most of the added services of the other formation plans arent don’t worth the added expense. Again, make sure you really look over what they offer to ensure you choose the best filing plan for your nonprofit. If you’re are in a real hurry, then absolutely get the Express Gold plan. They cover the main necessity and move you quickly towards company formation.

LegalZoom Nonprofit Alternatives

Boxing gloves There are many alternative formation services that can help out with your nonprofit, and after analyzing a total of 7, we decided to share Incfile and Northwest because they offer a ton of value for a fair price.

Incfile has helped over 500,000 businesses throughout the formation process and they’ve been doing filing for more than 15 years. Incfile is one of the cheapest service providers out there, offering online formation services to your business or NPO for $0 plus state filing fees. Incfile also provides great customer support, online we found great feedback backed by countless Incfile reviews. Take a second to see our post on how LegalZoom vs Incfile compares

Why we like Incfile

File nonprofit for $0 + state fees
Year of FREE registered agent services
Lifetime access to alerts regarding compliance deadlines

Why we dislike Incfile

Supreme packages are expensive
Value to cost

High

Ease of Use

Easy

Speed

Fast

Customer Care

High

Reputation
Trusted
More services
Many

Northwest Registered Agent is easily one of the best nonprofit formation providers out there. Northwest like LegalZoom offers basic company formation which starts at $99. They may not be the cheapest, but their transparency and down-to-earth approach are very attractive. Northwest Registered Agent will form your entity hassle-free for $100 plus state fees. If you decide to hire a registered agent and get your EIN through them, the cost is an additional $175 ($125 and $50, respectively).

Why we like Northwest Registered Agents

File your nonprofit for $100 + state fees
Registered agent services for $125 / year
Incredible in-house customer support

Why we dislike Northwest Registered Agents

No packages to choose from
Value to cost

High

Ease of Use

Easy

Speed

Fast

Customer Care

High

Reputation
Trusted
More services
Many

LegalZoom Nonprofit Frequently Asked Questions

Is LegalZoom Trustworthy?

Yes, LegalZoom is trustworthy. They opened their doors back in 2001 and have helped over 4 million customers.

How do I know if a Non-Profit is Legitimate?

Check to see if a non-profit is legitimate by accessing a tool called the Exempt Organizations Select Check Tool. This is a database of nonprofit authorized organizations verified by the IRS.

Cost to File 501(c)(3)

The cost to file 501(c)(3) is $600 as of 2021. This is a flat cost that is irrelevant to the income generated by your organization. Make sure the papers are registered properly as this is nonrefundable.

What is a Nonprofit (NPO)?

A nonprofit organization (NPO) is an entity that operates to benefit the community instead of generating income.

If you intend to further a social cause instead of making money with a business, an NPO is an ideal vehicle to get you there.

Can a Nonprofit (NPO) Make a Profit?

An NPO (contrary to its name) is totally allowed to make a profit.

The only difference here (and what mostly defines a non-profit) is that you cannot distribute the profit to the founders or board of directors.

What are the Disadvantages of Forming a Nonprofit?

Initial cost – Though, as you can see it’s very cheap to form a nonprofit, making it tax-exempt can be costly. In many instances, the price is above $500 for filing the 503(c)(3) document but it varies with the state.

Compliance obligations – Just like a for-profit business, a nonprofit must comply with certain guidelines.

More strict regulations regarding the management – When it comes to how the board of directors and management operate, regulations can be stricter for a nonprofit.

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