Q: Does a very small church need to nonprofit incorporate?
A: Does a very small church NEED to incorporate? No. There are many small churches, and some large ones, that operate as unincorporated associations. However, I advise all my nonprofit clients, including churches, to incorporate. Although I can't speak specifically to Alabama law, in my experience and opinion, the benefits of incorporation (including liability protection for the leadership and members) greatly outweigh the administrative cost and burden of incorporation.
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