If you're just a small org that's growing, you'll probably be able to file the Form 1023-EZ. However, most small nonprofits typically haven't taken all the proper formation steps to check off all the boxes on the application -- ensuring the Articles contain the proper IRS-required language, adopting a COI policy, code of regs, etc. Feel free to email me. I'd happy to give you a little more guidance.
It was a long process. The 1023 application is detailed, and requires a lot of support statements. You also have state applications to worry about. In CA, I had to file with the Secretary of State, The Registry of Charitable Trusts, and had to file an application for tax exemption.
I'm sure legalzoom has a package to file the 1023 application for you for a few hundred dollars, but you'll still have to provide all the supporting statements like bylaws, conflict of interest policy, specific purpose statement, projected income/budget, program descriptions, related party disclosures, and whatever else may apply.
I would have a competent person from the organization do it over a cheap service. The cheap service will have you do most of the legwork yourself anyway, and then just file the application for you.
There are a lot of good people back here, though. Maybe somebody knows a good firm that handles this stuff for small organizations. Best of luck.
Much more relatable for guys than “Eighth Grade” not only because of characters, but the tribalism you have with your buddies at that age. Probably why “Eighth Grade” didn’t really land for me.
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross add another hauntingly good theme to their collective works.
The form is a bear, but it's not rocket science. Unless your activity or entity structure is weird, it's really just a matter of making sure your formation structure uses the proper magic language and checking off the boxes.
If you're a school, or something school-related, it becomes a major headache and you need to read a bunch of revenue rulings. But otherwise, I would just take a look at the instructions.