Benefit corporation. A commercial corporation that charters social and/or environmental benefits into its incorporation documents. Developed in 2008, laws allow benefit corporations in about 1/3 of all U.S. states. There is a branded version called a B Corporation.

Cooperatives. Independent organizations of individuals who cooperate for their shared benefit. The services and enterprises are owned and managed by the users, residents, and/or employees.

European Foundation. Foundations in Europe are chartered in their home countries. There is an effort to create a common form, the European Foundation, that would be recognized by the European Commission and that would facilitate transnational giving within the European Union.

Informal networks. Individuals who share a cause but who have no legally recognized governance structure and who may be entirely self-funded.

Mutual societies. An organization that is "owned" and governed by its members for the purposes of providing a shared source of funding and services such as health care or insurance.

Social businesses. Commercial enterprises with a social purpose. Some of them are incorporated as social businesses through the benefit corporation structure or as a low-profit, limited liability company (L3C), though most are not.

Social welfare organizations. Independent associations that include political activity as part of their work. Highly contentious area of U.S. campaign finance and nonprofit law. The organizations are tax exempt, but donations are not tax deductible.

Takeaways are critical, bite-sized resources either excerpted from our guides or written by Candid Learning for Funders using the guide's research data or themes post-publication. Attribution is given if the takeaway is a quotation.

This takeaway was derived from Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2014.