Quality Mark
Last Reviewed: May 2023
Reviewed by: PLEO Contributors
Time to Read: 10 minutes

This Fact Sheet provides some practical tips for non-profits for setting up a non-profit.

Applying for Incorporation as a Non-Profit

To apply for incorporation as a non-profit, you will need:

  1. A BCeID account: an online account that allows individuals to access a wide variety of online services provided by the government of British Columbia, including Societies Online. A BCeID account is required to incorporate a non-profit (society). Create a BCeID account by going to https://www.bceid.ca/. Alternatively, go to https://www.bcregistry.ca/societies/ and click “Register for Basic BCeID.” There are three types of BCeID accounts: basic, personal, and business. BCeID accounts are tied to an individual: all directors and senior staff who need to access Societies Online must have their own BCeID account.
  2. An Email Address: list an email address at which the non-profit will consistently and regularly be able to receive emails. To ensure continuity for future directors, the applicants for incorporation might consider creating an email account specifically for the non-profit, rather than using a personal email address.
  3. A Registered Office: the non-profit’s registered office does not need to be a staffed office. A registered office need only be an address at which the non-profit can receive mail. This address could be the mailing address of a director, a post office (PO) box, or the non-profit’s office. A non-profit can also use the address of another organization. For instance, if the non-profit uses the boardroom of a charity to hold meetings and receive mail, the non-profit, with the charity’s permission, can list that address as its registered office.
  4. Name Request: to save time, make sure to review the rules for names before submitting a name request


  • Create a membership structure that reflects the needs of the non-profit.
  • Create and use a form for people to apply for membership in your non-profit.
  • Make sure whoever is approving memberships (e.g. Executive Director or membership committee) is following the correct procedure and following the membership policy.


  • Must have three directors.
  • Create and use a form to indicate a member’s consent and qualifications to act as a director to ensure that every director has indicated whether or not they are qualified. For an example, Consent to Act as a Director Form. (Note, however, that you do not need to add the requirement to sign a consent form in your bylaws).
  • If the non-profit budget allows, provide directors liability insurance to encourage people to act as directors.


  • Ensure your non-profit keeps records
  • Remember bylaws are an evolving document
  • Create key policies for the society