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501(c)(3) - Charitable Organizations

The most common nonprofit is a 501(c)(3) charity, and refers to an organization that operates to fulfill any of the following purposes: religion, education, science, literature, public safety testing, amateur sports, and the    prevention of cruelty to children or animals. Common types of charitable organizations—which the IRS uses in its generally accepted legal sense—include food banks, museums, theatre groups, colleges, low-income housing organizations, and day care centers. Both public and private charities are usually prohibited from or limited in engaging in lobbying activities. As charities, 501(c)(3) organizations can apply for tax-exemption for all income related to the business or mission. You can find a complete list of all 28 types of 501(c) corporations through the IRS.

501(c)(4) - Civic League, Social Welfare Organization, or Local Employee Association

501(c)(4) nonprofits are created to promote community and individual welfare. Lobbying activities are not limited by law, and regulations regarding partisan political activities Labor and Agricultural Organization. This is created for educational or instructive purposes, designed to improved conditions and efficiency of work. Types include labor, agricultural, or horticultural organizations.

501(c)(6) - Trade or Professional Association

501(c)(6) nonprofits are created to improve business conditions. Types of these nonprofits include Chambers of commerce, retail merchants associations and real estate boards. They are typically not subject to legal limitations on lobbying and political activity.

501(c)(7) - Social or Recreational Club

Types of 501(c)(7) nonprofits include hobby clubs, country clubs, and other groups created for recreational purposes.  

501(c)(8)- Fraternal Societies

501(c)(8) organizations must operate under the "lodge" system, and provide substantial programs and activities for members, whose membership is based on common ties or pursuit of a common goal, and who receive benefits.  

501(c)(9) - Employee Beneficiary Association

A 501(c)(9) association provides for the payment of life, sickness, accident, or other benefits to its employee members. 

501(c)(14) - State Chartered Credit Union and Mutual Reserve Fund

501(c)(14) nonprofits offer their members high-quality financial services and enable them pool and organize their own financial resources.

501(c)(19) - Veterans Organizations

A 501(c)(19) nonprofit is comprised primarily of past or present members of the United states Armed Forces, and organized to provide benefits for these and other USAF members.


Starting a nonprofit requires preparation and organization, and Rocket Lawyer makes the process more manageable. Members get discounts on our easy incorporation service (free for new members!), and can find all necessary documents to start a nonprofit or talk to a lawyer for extra help.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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