Nonprofit Organization

… a core concept in Socioeconomic and Political Context and Atlas105

Concept description

The Legal Information Institute (reference below)defines nonprofit (or non-profit) organization as “a group organized for purposes other than generating profit and in which no part of the organization’s income is distributed to its members, directors, or officers.”

It goes on to say:

“They can take the form of a corporation, an individual enterprise (for example, individual charitable contributions), unincorporated association, partnership, foundation (distinguished by its endowment by a founder, it takes the form of a trusteeship), or condominium (joint ownership of common areas by owners of adjacent individual units incorporated under state condominium acts). Non-profit organizations must be designated as nonprofit when created and may only pursue purposes permitted by statutes for non-profit organizations. Non-profit organizations include churches, public schools, public charities, public clinics and hospitals, political organizations, legal aid societies, volunteer services organizations, labor unions, professional associations, research institutes, museums, and some governmental agencies.”

Inc. Encyclopedia (reference below) describes different types of nonprofit organizations in the United States as follows:

Charitable Organizations

“Charitable institutions comprise the bulk of America’s nonprofit organizations. These include a wide variety of institutions involved in the realms of poverty assistance (soup kitchens, counseling centers, homeless shelters, etc.); religion (churches and their ancillary possessions, such as cemeteries, radio stations, etc.); science (independent research institutions, universities); health (hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, treatment centers); education (libraries, museums, schools, universities, and other institutions); promotion of social welfare; preservation of natural resources; and promotion of theatre, music, and other fine arts.

Advocacy Organizations

“”These groups attempt to influence the legislative process and/or the political process, or otherwise champion particular positions,” explained Bruce R. Hopkins in The Law of Tax-Exempt Organizations. “They may call themselves ‘social welfare organizations’ or perhaps ‘political action committees.’ Not all advocacy is lobbying and not all political activity is political campaign activity. Some of this type of program can be accomplished through a charitable organization, but that outcome is rare where advocacy is the organization’s primary undertaking.”

Membership Groups

“This kind of nonprofit organization includes business associations, veterans’ groups, and fraternal organizations.

Social/Recreational Organizations

“Country clubs, hobby and garden clubs, college and university fraternity and sorority organizations, and sports tournament organizations all can qualify as nonprofit organizations, provided that they adhere to basic guidelines of net earnings distribution, etc. Unlike other tax-exempt organizations, however, their investment income is taxable.”

Atlas topic, subject, and course

Political Advocacy and the Nonprofit Sector (core topic) in Socioeconomic and Political Context and Atlas105.


Legal Information Institute, Non-profit organizations, at, accessed 28 December 2018.

Inc. Encyclopedia, Nonprofit Organizations, at, accessed 28 December 2018. The quotation references Hopkins, Bruce R., The Law of Tax-Exempt Organizations. Eighth Edition. John Wiley & Sons, 2003.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 28 December 2018.

Image: DL Media, DL Media now offers nonprofit organizations a Google Grants program package, at, accessed 28 December 2018.