The well-meaning have been advising exempt organizations to operate like a business for years. If the organization is a Section 501(c)(3) organization, operating too much like a business can cost it its tax-exempt status due to the Commerciality Doctrine. Practically, the issue of commerciality usually arises when a tax-exempt organization engages in any endeavor for which a clear for-profit counterpart exists in the marketplace. Typical examples include publishing, consulting and sales of arts and crafts. Today, the Commerciality Doctrine is a threat to the increasingly popular movement toward social enterprises. Those that choose to organize as Section 501(c)(3) organizations should only do so after a thorough review of the Commerciality Doctrine.
How to Start a Non-Profit Organization
We put together a guide to five things all non-profit founders should do before filling out any paperwork to help you get started on the path to success.