501(c)…what?

Whether you know a little or a lot about the nonprofit world, how to classify an organization can be tricky. Although it’s just a number at the end of the 501(c)…that little number determines financials, tax exemptions, and the legality of what a nonprofit can and can’t do.

There are over 29 different types of 501(c) nonprofits from cemetery companies to the NFL. It’d be a bit overwhelming to learn them all, so here is a quick overview for the three most common types of nonprofits:

501(c)(3)

  • PUBLIC
  • Purpose: organized and operated for an exempt purpose or charitable cause
  • Example: churches, boys’ and girls’ clubs, parent teacher associations

501(c)(4)

  • SOCIAL WELFARE
  • Purpose: promotion of the common good and general welfare for a community
  • Example: Lions Club, VFW, welfare organizations

501(c)(6)

  • MEMBERSHIP
  • Purpose: persons with common business interests promote said interest, but do not conduct trade or regular business for profit
  • Example: real estate boards, chamber of commerce, NFL

To see a more detailed comparison, CLICK HERE for a great well-organized chart.

By: Emma Bennett
NPR Associate and Event Planner
emma@nonprofitresources.us

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