Starting a nonprofit organization involves both State and Federal issues.  A nonprofit corporation needs to be started with the State, and then it needs to file for tax-exempt status with the IRS.  There are time limits for filing.  If done properly, the nonprofit may be able to start accepting donations almost immediately.  The donations may be made to the organization directly, or to a third organization which holds the nonprofit’s funds.  The process of obtaining tax-exempt status with the IRS can potentially be lengthy and complex.  I have guided many nonprofits successfully through this process.