What form should our nonprofit take? The IRS allows multiple different types of nonprofits (29 under section 501, actually). Most of these don't apply to use.
The most common is the 501(c)(3). This is a typical charitable organization, and has a lot of regulation attached to it. Another option is the 501(c)(10) Domestic Fraternal Societies and Associations. Having 501(c)(3) status may make us eligible for a wider variety of grants from foundations. Having 501(c)(10) status gives us the opportunity to pursue charitable aims as a primary focus, while also maintaining a social function. I believe this social function would be beneficial. Contributions (for charitable purposes) to either type of organization are tax deductible. Many 501(c)(10) organizations also have a 501(c)(3) foundation that they maintain as a fundraising arm- this could give us all the advantages of both forms of organization, while creating a need for slightly more paperwork.
Thoughts? Would the community support a social element- a society held together by a common devotion to building and promoting high speed, community owned and operated communications networks?