Business Leagues, Chambers of Commerce, and other professional leagues

501(c)(6)s are business leagues or associations that are organized and operated primarily to promote the common business interests of its members. Examples of 501(c)6 organizations include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Football League. A 501(c)(6) must be devoted to improving business conditions of one or more lines of business (as distinguished from performing particular services for individual persons). It must be shown that the conditions of a particular trade or the interests of the community will be advanced. The organization may offer seminars, trade shows, write newsletters, journals, offer classes, and certification programs. Here are some characteristics of a 501(c)6: 


  • Contributions to a 501(c)6 are not deductible as charitable contributions on the donor’s federal income tax return.

  • They exist for the benefit of organization members.

  • They may participate in limited political activity and may endorse or contribute to political candidates as long as this lobbying activity is for the betterment of the industry that the league represents. 

  • The organization must be primarily supported by membership dues and other income from activities substantially related to its exempt purpose.

  • Not eligible for Federal grants, but eligible for Foundation grants.

  • May engage in any amount of legislative activity relevant to the common business interests of the organization’s members, but lobbying should not be the organization’s major focus.


In addition, A 501(c)(6) may create a related 501(c)(3) organization. This could be for a variety of reasons including to obtain grant funding or get tax-deductible contributions for educational activities. conduct educational or charitable endeavors or simply to access a larger network of funders.

Follow these links for more information about 501(c)6 Non-Profits: 

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This website provides general information about non-profits and the non-profit industry. This website does not provide legal advice and the Non-Profit Assistance Corp. is not a law firm. No attorney-client or confidential relationship exists or will be formed between you and the Non-Profit Assistance Corp. or any of our Consultants.