Non-Profit Organizations: Busineses For The Greater Good

Somewhere, sometime, somebody in response to seeing a crying need said, “Somebody ought to do something about that…” and BLAM! a non-profit organization begins its existence in the mind of a founder.

Non profits are organized for the good of mankind. Some of them are cultural icons like Boys Town  or the Salvation Army, which even enjoyed a background role in the musical  “Guys and Dolls“. Some are quite controversial like The League of Women Voters and Planned Parenthood. Still others are friendly fellowships or community service organizations . There are many categories of non-profits, so, any potential founder needs to do some research to be able to register correctly  on the IRS website . Additionally  registration with the state where you will be doing business and following their guidelines with regard to associated fees is necessary.

Generally, the classification number for a non-profit or charitable institution is in the language of the Internal Revenue Service (good old IRS), a “501(c)”:

  • 501(c)3 – Education, religious, literary, or charitable
  • 501(c)4 – Social Welfare
  • 501(c)5 – Labor Union
  • 501(c)6 – Business/Trade Association
  • 501(c)7 – Social Club
  • 501(c)9 – Voluntary Employee Benefit Associations

This is by no means a definitive list. Non-profit organizations, often also called charitable corporations are a serious economic niche for career hunters or re-careering professionals whose personal Divine Mandate involves helping to alleviate suffering among people, animals, or the earth. For example, Angel tree, a program of Prison Fellowship, addresses the need of the children of incarcerated parents. The National Science Foundation works with young people too–education in science and technology.

The first and most important question that must be answered is, what specifically is the need I want to address among what population? Is it pain? disease? ignorance? homelessness? hunger?

What kid of suffering do you want to help put an end to?