We live in a capital society and you might think that every organization that you come into contact with is interested in making a profit in some way. If people are marketing products then they want the cost of making them to be lower than the selling cost. If someone is selling services, they want to earn enough to pay their costs and then some. But, there are some organizations out there that really want to spend all of the money that comes in and put it towards their cause. These are called non-profits.
The organizations that generally first come to mind when talking about non-profits are charities. You would hope that the money that you donate towards a foundation like Habitat for Humanity or Unicef is going to go directly into helping the people that they are trying to support rather than going to the president of the company and a board of directors. There are no stocks to buy in these companies and they generally run on donations from corporations and individuals.
There are public and private charities out there. To qualify as a public charity you need to be able to prove that at least one third of your funds are coming from government units or the general public. Private foundations are more specialized but can usually still give out tax receipts for donations. If you see a private foundation you will also find that they are not allowed to lobby in any way, even if they are connected to some sort of political group or cause. The rules for this type are usually more strict.
Civic and social organizations can also get non-profit status. If you're a member of an organization like the Masons or the Lions then you might find that they count under this category. Groups such as these are typically run entirely by volunteers, and they put together one or more fundraising events each year. The Lucan Recreation Committee, for example, holds a raffle each year for a classic car. The proceeds from the ticket sales, after covering the cost of the prize, make up the group's profits, but their goal is then to give those profits away to the groups, programs, charities, individuals, or whomever they've agreed to support. So even though the group does make a profit, their objective is a non-profit one.
Social and recreational clubs are something that comes up in many forms. There are several arts organizations that have non-profit status and are kept open by donations. If you like to see plays or love the art gallery then you might donate annually to that organization. There are also several people who give their money to youth sports or clubs that they might be a part of in their spare time.