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Apply To Become A Seed Project

You can apply to us to create your own project. This can be a new venture or it can be an existing activity that wants to attain nonprofit status. Our projects are usually self-funding and they use  their nonprofit status to qualify for grants and donations. The Seeds Project does not regularly provide any direct funding to individual projects.


Please read everything on this page before filling out an application form.

See "Registration" to be aware of the paperwork needed if your applicationis approved.

After your application is approved, return to this page for the steps to complete your nonprofit registration.

Quick Links

First, read everything on this page. Then use these links to return to any area.

Our Application Process

Applying to become a Seeds Project is simple if you have a clear idea of what you intend to do as a project.

  • Fill out our application form. It's a short form, asking for your contact information and some details about the purpose of your project.
  • Send your application to us via email. The address is on the form.
  • Our committee will review your application to be sure that your project has a genuine nonprofit purpose and that you have considered the services and activities your project will generate or support.
  • You will be notified as soon as your application has been approved (or rejected).
  • If your application is approved you will be guided through several steps to register with us and we will open a bank account for your project.

Naming Your Seed Project

You can’t use your surname for your Seed Project name. You need to create what is known as a “fictitious business name”. Choose the name for your project carefully – you will keep this name for the duration of your project’s work

  • You will use this name in any letters or publicity for your project.

  • It’s good to choose a name that gives people an idea of the nature of your work.
  • A descriptive name also helps your community and your donors remember who you are, and distinguishes your project from other local organizations.

Once you have an idea for your project’s name you need to make sure it is not already being used.

  • Check with your state's Secretary of State Office -often searchable online - to see if that name is being used in your state.

  • Use an internet search engine such as Google to look for “corporate name search” websites. Use one of these sites to search the name you want to use. It will show you if that name is available.

Once your project is approved, if you are located in the USA you will need to register your project’s name in your county. We will provide instructions for this in the steps for registration.


Optional: If you are concerned about exclusive use of your name, you may want to check all of these registries to be certain the name you have chosen is available. After your project has been approved you will need to register your name with one or both of these agencies to insure exclusivity.

  • State registration, which protects your project’s name only in the state in which you are registered.

  • For national protection in the USA, register your project’s name as a trademark or service mark. To do so, contact the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, DC.

Creating a Mission Statement for Your Project

Projects with a clear focus and defined purpose are much more effective in their service. We ask applicants to define the purpose of their project in a Mission Statement.

  • Putting your purpose into words now, as you begin, helps you focus your work.
  • We understand that any Mission Statement you create now may change later, evolving as your project develops. You don't need to define what your project will be in the future. Just tell us what you are inspired to create, and then tell us how you want to do it.
  • Your project's Mission Statement can be a single sentence or several paragraphs. We give you several examples for reference.


Planning You Project's Activities or Services

Some applicants have a well defined plan for their project's activities, staffing and funding. Other applicants have an inspiration and some ideas of how it may develop. Every project's plan will be affected by sources of funding and the staff or volunteers it attracts. We understand that many applicants can't tell us exactly how your project will grow. In your application we want to see your ideas for what you project will do, or what you would like it to do.

  • You need to describe several activities or services your project may provide.
  • Tell us how your project might raise the funds that would be needed for your activities.
  • Some projects are more complex and need to develop a more extensive business plan before they begin. However this is not required for your application.


  • Your project's work must have a humanitarian, ecological or spiritual focus.
  • Your project cannot engage in any political activity or work to influence any legislation.
  • Your  project has some funding or will raise the funds needed for its work.

Funding for Your Seed Project

Some projects need very little money to accomplish their work. Others have large budgets and engage in active fundraising as part of their work. Think about what funds your project will need, and how you may raise those funds for the project. Your project should not rely on The Seeds Project as a source of its funding.


Sources for Funding Your Project

Project funding can come from grants, donations, or fundraising activities. Donations of money or non cash items such as stocks and real estate are common sources for funding. Many applicants donate to their project to provide initial funding.


Every Seed Project can receive tax deductible donations or do active fund raising. For example, your project can

  • Receive donations from individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations.
  • Raise funds through activities such as concerts and silent auctions,
  • Raise funds through the sale of project related goods such as your project's art posters or calendars.
  • Apply for grants from public and private sources.


Before you fill out our application form think about your project's purpose, it's potential activities, and it's potential sources of funding. Think about what you see for your project's future. These are the things we ask you to put into words on our application form.


Our application form must be filled out completely.

  • Three of the documents below are samples of successful applications. Before filling out your application, please review EACH of these samples. You will see that all of them are different, but each has provided all the information we request.
  • Where we ask for 3 examples you need to provide at least 3 examples.
  • Where we ask for an estimate of your project's annual budget you need to give us your best estimate.


We understand that you may not know exactly how your project will be funded, or what you will need as an annual budget for your work, or if a certain activity will really be part of your project's work. Your best guesses are acceptable for your application. We just need to see that you have considered all of these things as you begin to plan your Seed Project.


Look at the Samples

Reading our sample applications will make it easier for you to fill out your form. They show you the different kind of information we need from you depending on the nature of your project. A simple project uses the same form as a complex project, but the information they provide is very different. Use the sample that best suits your project as a guide or use elements from each for your application.


Download and open all of these documents.

Registration After Your Project is Approved

After your application is approved you need to register your project to obtain nonprofit status. As part of the registration process we will open a bank account in the name of your project. Your project will have full access to this account as soon as your registration is completed. To complete your registration there are a few forms we need for our records and some that the bank requires to open your project's bank account. Instructions for these are outlined here and also in the documents we provide at the bottom of this page.


Four Steps to Complete Your Registration

IMPORTANT NOTE: Email us if you can't complete Steps 1, 2 and 3 within one month after receiving approval of your application. If you notify us we can put your registration on hold for up to 6 months. Just let us know how much time you may need. Without notification we will assume that you decided to cancel your application and your project would need to apply again.


Step 1: Register your project's name (DBA).

If you are located in the USA you need register your project's name in your county by filing a DBA. Begin with this step because occasionally the county will take a few days to provide what is needed. You can start Step 2 as soon as you have filed that paperwork. You don't need to wait to get it back if it's delayed.


If you have never filed a DBA, after you finish reading this section you should read the next one. Filing Your Seed Project's DBA explains what a DBA is and why you need to file it. We also provide samples and a document you can download with guidelines to make your filing easier.


Step 2: Fill out 2 quizzes and your registration form.

We need verification that you understand what is legally required by the IRS for nonprofit status, and also what is required for good bookkeeping. This isn't very complicated but it is very important. That's why we have you take 2 short quizzes. The registration form is a contract you sign saying you will abide by these legal requirements. To move through the quizzes and the registration form easily we suggest that you follow this pattern:

  • Read our IRS Guidelines and take the short IRS quiz. Then read our Accounting Guidelines and take that short quiz. You'll send us the two quizzes when you register so we know that you do understand what is legally required.
  • Complete the registration form but do not initial or sign it. Go to a notary to initial and sign it with the notary present. The notary will stamp the form, "notarizing" it. You will mail this to us. We keep this notarized form in our files as verification that you agreed to each legal requirement.
  • Write 2 separate checks. One is your initial deposit to open your project's account. Our bank requires that you deposit at least $100. (That deposit is your project's money, not a fee.) The second check is to pay your project's annual fee for this year. We charge each project an annual fee to cover a portion of the costs we incur. We use volunteers and donations to keep your annual fee very low. If your estimated budget for the remainder of this year is less than $2,500 then your annual fee is the minimum, which is $50. Otherwise it is 2% of your estimated budget for the remainder of this year.


Step 3: Mail your registration form and check to us. Email everything else.

Follow the instructions we provide. We tell you which documents to email and which must be sent by regular mail. You can save time by scanning and sending an email copy of your DBA so we can check how your name is filed to be sure our bank will accept it. If you follow the guidelines we provide there is rarely any problem with this.


Step 4: Sign and return the bank documents.

After we've received everything we need from you, we can open your project's bank account. The bank usually gets us the necessary papers within a few days. We mail them to you. Then you get the appropriate signatures and mail them back to us. After we receive that mail - assuming all the signatures are in place - the bank will contact you, notifying you that you now have access to your account and can order checks for it. Congratulations - your Seed Project is now registered and you have your bank account!


Do You Want to Start Your Project Quickly?

If your project's work is already happening or you want to start right now, do what you can to get your registration done quickly. You don't have nonprofit status yet, but if the work doesn't require immediate funds or you are able to provide the initial funds you can start before the registration is complete. It is best to complete your registration and get your bank account open as soon as possible.


Minimize delays by returning everything as soon as you can.

Sometimes a project's DBA information is a little different than what our bank requires, or there are mistakes in the paperwork that is sent to us. The sooner you send us each piece, the sooner we can be sure it is exactly what we need to complete your registration and open your project's bank account.


How long will it take to get your Seed Project registered and bank account opened?

Probably between 2 weeks and one month. We can't answer precisely because most of the timing depends on you. A few projects move through steps 1, 2 and 3 in one day (if their county has an expedited DBA filing process). Other projects take weeks because of other priorities or delays. Sometimes the mail is slow. Occasionally the bank is slow. WE don't delay anything, and will complete your registration as quickly as possible.


Can you receive donations before your registration is complete?

 Yes. As soon as you get us your notarized registration form we can receive donations for your project and can hold them for you until your individual project account is opened.

Filing Your Seed Project's DBA

Your Seed Project will have a fictitious name - usually called a "DBA", which stands for Doing Business As. If you are located in the USA you need to register your DBA in your county. In some counties you may need to file two DBAs, one to register our corporation's name (The Seeds Project) and then a second DBA to register your project's name.


Steps to File Your DBA

There are 3 stages to the filing process.

  • Fill out the form and file your DBA with your country clerk/ recorder.
  • Publish it in a local newspaper as instructed by your county.
  • File an affidavit of that publication with the country clerk.

Check with your county newspaper before you begin - they may do most of this for you!


Fill out your county's form correctly - mistakes can cost you extra fees

Be sure to download and read our Guide for Filling Out a DBA (Doing Business As) Form before you fill out your DBA form. We also have Samples of DBA Filings if you want to see some examples. If you still have questions, refer to our guide while asking your county clerk for more information.


      We suggest the easy way to file your DBA

    Check with your county clerk and local newspapers. Some counties make it very simple to file IF you know how to ask the right questions.

    For example, in our county all you need to do is

    • Call the clerk's office and ask for a list of recommended newspapers for DBA publication. Then call a few of those newspapers and ask if they have a process where you can send them the form and they handle the filing for you. Go with the paper that charges the least to publish and will handle the filing for you. Typically they add a very small fee for this.
    • CORRECTLY fill out the form and send it to them with your payment. (You can get the form from the county office or download it from their website.)


    You're done! The newspaper will handle the rest.

    • They make sure your project's name is not already taken by someone else, and then they file your DBA form with the county. 
    • Once it's filed, they email or fax you a copy and mail you the original. They publish it as required and then file the affidavit of publication for you. 

    If no newspaper in your county offers this service follow the instructions provided by your county to publish it and file the affidavit. See our Samples of DBA Filings.


    Note: State registration will protect your business name ONLY in the state you are registered in.

    For national protection, you may want to register your company name as a trademark or service mark. To do so, contact the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, DC.

    Register Your Project

    Download each of these documents. Also choose one IRS Quiz and one Accounting Quiz.

    View our DBA samples if you need more clarification before filling our your DBA.

    You only need to download one IRS Quiz and one Accounting Quiz. We suggest using Quiz A in each case.

    You may find the Sample DBAs useful if you have questions about how to fill out the form in your county. Look at different ones, and you will see how they can be filled out correctly.


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