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The Nonprofit FAQ: Types of Nonprofits

Select an FAQ   (22):

Approaches to the History of Nonprofits
Approaches to documenting and understanding the history of nonprofits in the US by two well-known scholars.
Are churches required to register as 501(c)(3)s?
Generally, no. But some organizations connected to churches do apply for recognition as tax-exempt by the IRS.
Are there statistics about nonprofits online?
The National Center for Charitable Statistics offers quite a lot of statistical information at its website and provides access to detailed 990 data for researchers who pay small fees. There are other sources as well.
Can a 501(c)(4) become a 501(c)(3)?
Yes. Filing a new application (1023) is the most direct route.
Can one nonprofit create another?
Sure. The new organization can either be completely independent or remain connected after it starts operating.
Can we convert our swim club to 501(c)(3) status?
501(c)(3) organizations must be dedicated to a charitable purpose. A social club will have to make very significant changes to qualify for 'public charity' status.
Does a strong nonprofit sector make any difference?
Discussion of the connection between 'civil society' and nonprofit organizations.
How are nonprofit organizations classified?
Many systems of classification (taxonomies) are in use for various purposes. These notes mention several of them.
How to start a foundation
Starting a foundation is pretty much like starting any sort of nonprofit. The details are probably even more important.
Is a Board Necessary?
Many factors affect the answer to the question. Being incorporated is probably a good idea; corporations usually have boards.
Is there a difference between 'directors' and 'trustees'?
The terms have specific meanings, but in fact are often used more or less interchangeably.
Is there a difference between 'nonprofit' and 'not-for-profit'?
Both terms are frequently used and frequently seen. There is no firmly established distinction, though some people have strong preferences between them.
Is there any way to be eligible for grants before getting 501(c)3) status?
Sometimes, a fiscal sponsor will assume responsibility for a grant-supported project that is not connected to any existing agency or organization.
Must all nonprofits be purely about helping others?
No. That requirement applies to foundations and public charities (501(c)(3)s), but there are many types with other requirements
Should we incorporate a 'private' or a 'public' nonprofit?
In general, it is probably better to be a 'public charity' than a 'private foundation.' This note explores the question briefly.
We can't afford a full office and staff. Where can we turn?
You may want to consider fiscal sponsorship. Here are a couple of organizations that may be able to help.
What about self-help groups
Joining, or starting, a self-help group is a widely accepted way for people to deal with problems. These groups are vital resources for individuals and communities. Many offer valuable resources online.
What is a foundation?
Many types of organizations use the word 'foundation' in describing themselves. This item offers some help in sorting out the ways the term is used.
What is a grassroots organization?
The term has no 'official' meaning in spite of its widespread use. Nonethess, people often feel strongly about such organizations and how they are formed and led.
What is nonprofit social entrepreneurship?
Simply put, a nonprofit social entrepreneur addresses social issues by starting a business enterprise that is not designed to return profits to any owners.
What sorts of organizations are exempt from federal income taxes?
The Internal Revenue Code specifies many sorts of exempt organizations besides the familiar 501(c)(3). Donations to most other types, though, cannot be deducted from the donor's income taxes. The IRS website offers a complete list.
Which kind? 501(3)(3), 501(c)(4) or 501(c)(6)?
Resources for making a decision when choosing which kind of tax-exempt organization fits.