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Nonprofit Law/Can a nominal fee be charged for membership in a 501(c)(3) booster club?


I am well aware of the prohibitions on private inurement and proportional benefit distribution.  But my question is whether a booster club can charge a nominal fee for membership (that is not in any way connected to the gym)?  The idea would be that only members would benefit from any fundraising activities (evenly distributed, not proportional to participation).  The nominal fee is simply to establish the group of athletes that would benefit and hopefully assure that the members, who would now have a vested interest by virtue of the membership fee, participate in fundraising activities.  There would be no requirement of participation, however.  
Thank you.

My summary of IRS regulations relating to 501(c)(3) booster organizations is at and you may be interested to read that. You will see there that a 501(c)(3) booster organization may not discriminate against families that are not members of the booster organization or do not work for that organization. Obviously, if it can not discriminate against making grants to families that are not members, it could not require, as a condition for receiving benefits, that a fee, even a nominal fee, be paid to the charity organization.

Harvey Mechanic
Attorney at Law

P.S. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather more information.

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Harvey Mechanic


DO NOT GIVE ME INFORMATION THAT YOU WANT KEPT CONFIDENTIAL. I am an attorney and I volunteer time to answer general questions about U.S. Federal income tax issues of nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charities only. Those questions could be about establishing and maintaining legal requirements for such non-profit organizations in the United States, including Internal Revenue service filings and requirements. I will not be working on this free forum to answer questions about Nonprofit's possible unrelated or for-profit businesses or how to fill out forms. This forum is only for general questions about federal tax law, not as the law applies to your specific situation. If you do not make your question public then I will not be spending much of my donated time on answers that would not benefit the public. If you have other questions, please contact me at I will reply from my email. In any case, do not reveal confidential information to me until after I have contracted with you to provide personal legal services. My responses on this forum are intended to be general statements of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, and do not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather extensive information about the situation. To search my previous answers you can do a Google search by "" without the quotes and then add your search terms before hitting enter.


I have been practicing law and especially the law of nonprofit organizations since 1990 when I was admitted to the New York Bar and I have maintained my status with the Bar since that time.


B.S. Columbia University in New York City, 1970

J.D. (Law Degree) Brooklyn Law School, 1990 -- Cum Laude.

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