Types of Nonprofits in the Philippines

Cersai Stark

Cersai Stark

A country’s prevalent cultures as well as economic and social norms influence and/or determine the types of nonprofits that exist within its region.

The Philippines is a third-world nation. Hence, the country continues to tackle increasing unemployment rates, and slow economic development compounded by high birth rates. The emergence of nonprofit organizations in the country dates back to the Spanish era. During this significant period, nearly all of the various types of nonprofit entities were faith-based.

Nonprofits in the Philippines were said to have begun during the period of colonization. The country’s culture of giving is founded on the idea of “Pakikipagkapwa.” This word has the connotation of equality. It can be transcribed as  “to holistically interact with others”. “Kapwa”, on the other hand, means “shared inner self.”

This culturally driven country believes that carrying out charity and volunteer work shows the equal status that exists between the provider of assistance and the recipient.  These ideologies continue to shape the culture and lifestyle of the people. Furthermore, it has created an environment that spurs the development of many nonprofit organizations in the country.


Types of nonprofits
Types of nonprofits


  • The Philippines have over 60,000 registered NGOs comprising all types of nonprofit organizations.
  • Development NGOs are believed to have created the most impact in the Filipino society with over 3,000 to 5000 entities in existence.
  • “Non stock” corporations and microfinance NGOs in the Philippines prioritize environmental and agrarian matters.


What are the types of nonprofits in the Philippines?

A large number of the various types of nonprofits in the Philippines are labeled development NGOs. These organizations deliver various services and expertise to the public. The Council on Foundations (COF) segments Philippines nonprofits into two categories: 

  • Non-stock corporations: These types of not-for-profit organizations are registered under the Corporation Code. These companies are established for educational, scientific, cultural, social, religious, or charitable purposes. Non-stock corporations are enlisted under the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the Philippines. Some non-stock entities may also register as foundations.
  • Microfinance NGOs: these types of nonprofits are also SEC-registered. They are established to carry out a micro-enterprise development strategy and deliver microfinance programs and services. This could be in areas such as microcredit and micro-savings for low-income citizens. 


Several other foreign nonprofit organizations conduct business activities in the Philippines by organizing representative offices or branches. These however are not within the scope of the above-listed nonprofits.

Other not-for-profit entities are also not highlighted because of their restricted dealings with foreign grant makers. These include cooperatives, labor unions, unregistered NPOs, mutual savings banks, and other entities created or governed by special laws. 

Non-stock corporations and microfinance NGOs prioritize environmental and agrarian matters. Their impacts are reflected in their ability to influence public policy and develop programs and campaigns that embrace the community. 

How many nonprofits are in the Philippines?

The Philippines have over 60,000 registered NGOs comprising all types of nonprofits. These entities also include over 10,000 people’s organizations (POs) known as grassroots or community-based organizations (CBOs). POs serve a particular community in a geographic area. These entities are formed to advance their member’s interests eg farmer’s associations and youth clubs.

Development NGOs such as “non stock” corporations and microfinance NGOs are believed to have created the most impact in Filipino society with over 3,000 and 5000 entities in existence. These nongovernmental organizations cater to issues involving governance and poverty. 

What Types of Nonprofits are exempted from Tax Laws?

Exemptions from income tax are available to the types of nonprofits that fall into this category: 

  • Non-stock corporations solely established for religious, cultural, scientific, charitable, or athletic purposes. Also, this category includes nonprofit entities for the rehabilitation of veterans 
  • Civic leagues or organizations established to promote social welfare.  
  • Non-stock and non-profit educational institutions. 


Tax laws provide special privileges to accredited non-stock corporations and accredited nongovernmental organizations. These types of nonprofits are exempted from income tax on grants, donations and gifts.

However, the net income of these foundations must not inure to the benefit of any individual or private shareholder. Also, the business must not be operated to favor private interests including those of the founder or relatives. Finally, nonprofits must not be involved in trade or business purposes that are not associated with the organization’s tax-exempt status.

Taxes are imposed upon profits generated from business activities despite the amount of the income.


Nonprofit entities are channels for voluntary contributions to the good of the public. NGOs promote welfare development that supports a wide array of social and cultural causes. The capacity of these organizations is seen in their ability to augment government resources in delivering public goods and services. They also facilitate activities that foster societal advancement. 

It should be noted that the Philippines does not have well-developed academic literature on NGOs online. Also, donations to finance NGOs based in the Philippines are somewhat scant. The majority of available research is in the form of surveys of non-stock and nonprofit corporations which include the many types of nonprofits.

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