Nonprofit Law/Outreach ministry


Our church has 501c3 status. There is a proposal to start an outreach ministry using a different name than the church. The ministry will be managed thru fundraising and grants all monies will be placed in an account under this outreach ministry but the outreach ministry is still part of the church. And the Pastor still approves everything the ministry does. Can they fall under the 501c3 already established?

Yes. are the sections of the California law relating to the fictitious names.
Down at section 17911 we see "This chapter does not apply to a nonprofit corporation or association, including, but not limited to, organizations such as churches, labor unions, fraternal and charitable organizations, foundations, and similar organizations."  But most banks have a policy that they will not allow the deposit of a check unless that check is made out to the account holder or a registered fictitious name of the account holder.

So you would check with your bank, and, if you would then want to register the fictitious business name, the church would register the new name as a dba (fictitious business name) with the county and then the back would allow the church to have a bank account where checks to that name would be allowed to be deposited.

You would register the fictitious name in the county where the church's principal office is located.  So, you would go to the site of the county where your church is for registration information.  For example, for Orange County go to

Instructions for Los Angeles County are available at

    If an organization requests an assumed or trade name (e.g.,
"doing business as" (DBA) or "also known as" (AKA)) be added to its
name, it must follow the procedure that the IRS has given to their
agents to pass on.  That is available at (it takes a while for the page to load to the
proper area of the web site)

 The IRS allows 501(c)(3) organizations to use dbas and evens
allows searching.
--- Start of Excerpt ---
Searching by name produces results where either the organization's
legal name or dba includes any of the search terms. For example, a
search for Exempt Organization would return organizations with
either "Exempt" or "Organization" in their name"
---End of Excerpt---

Harvey Mechanic, Attorney at Law -

P.S. This response s intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and doe Mechanics not create an attorney/client relationship.  

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Harvey Mechanic


DO NOT GIVE ME INFORMATION THAT YOU WANT KEPT CONFIDENTIAL. I am an attorney and I volunteer time to answer general questions about U.S. Federal income tax issues of nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charities only. Those questions could be about establishing and maintaining legal requirements for such non-profit organizations in the United States, including Internal Revenue service filings and requirements. I will not be working on this free forum to answer questions about Nonprofit's possible unrelated or for-profit businesses or how to fill out forms. This forum is only for general questions about federal tax law, not as the law applies to your specific situation. If you do not make your question public then I will not be spending much of my donated time on answers that would not benefit the public. If you have other questions, please contact me at I will reply from my email. In any case, do not reveal confidential information to me until after I have contracted with you to provide personal legal services. My responses on this forum are intended to be general statements of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, and do not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather extensive information about the situation. To search my previous answers you can do a Google search by "" without the quotes and then add your search terms before hitting enter.


I have been practicing law and especially the law of nonprofit organizations since 1990 when I was admitted to the New York Bar and I have maintained my status with the Bar since that time.


B.S. Columbia University in New York City, 1970

J.D. (Law Degree) Brooklyn Law School, 1990 -- Cum Laude.

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