Non-profit organization

Non-profit organization posits the existence of organizations pursuing different objectives (and working under different constraints) to the functional profit-making model.

Usually supported by private/public grants or donations, such organizations are implicity or explicitly non-profit making.

Examples include health foundations, charities, and clubs.

Source:
R S Gassier, The Economics of Non-profit Enterprise: A Study in Applied Economic Theory (New York and London, 1986)

Statistics in the United States

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS), there are more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations registered in the United States, including public charities, private foundations, and other nonprofit organizations. Private charitable contributions increased for the fourth consecutive year in 2017 (since 2014), at an estimated $410.02 billion. Out of these contributions, religious organizations received 30.9%, education organizations received 14.3%, and human services organizations received 12.1%.[4] Between September 2010 and September 2014, approximately 25.3% of Americans over the age of 16 volunteered for a nonprofit.[5]

Mechanism of money-raising

Nonprofits are not driven by generating profit, but they must bring in enough income to pursue their social goals. Nonprofits are able to raise money in different ways. This includes income from donations from individual donors or foundations; sponsorship from corporations; government funding; programs, services or merchandise sales; and investments.[6] Each NPO is unique in which source of income works best for them. With an increase in NPO’s within the last decade, organizations have adopted competitive advantages to create revenue for themselves to remain financially stable. Donations from private individuals or organizations can change each year and government grants have diminished. With changes in funding from year to year, many nonprofit organizations have been moving toward increasing the diversity of their funding sources. For example, many nonprofits that have relied on government grants have started fundraising efforts to appeal to individual donors.

Challenges

NPO’s challenges primarily stem from lack of funding. Funding can either come from within the organization, fundraising, donations, or from the federal government. When cutbacks are made from the federal government, the organization suffers from devolution. This term describes when there is a shift of responsibility from a central government to a local, sub-national authority. The shift is due to the loss of funds; therefore, resulting in changes of responsibilities in running programs. Because of this frequent challenge, management must be innovative and effective in the pursuit of success.

Nonprofit vs. not-for-profit


In the United States, both nonprofits and not-for-profits are tax-exempt under IRS publication 557. Although they are both tax-exempt, each organization faces different tax code requirements. A nonprofit is tax-exempt under
501(c)(3) requirements if it is either a religious, charitable, or educational based organization that does not influence state and federal legislation. Not-for-profits are tax-exempt under 501(c)(7) requirements if they are an organization for pleasure, recreation or another nonprofit purpose.[7]Nonprofit and not-for-profit are terms that are used similarly, but do not mean the same thing. Both are organizations that do not make a profit, but may receive an income to sustain their missions. The income that nonprofit and not-for-profit organizations generate is used differently. Nonprofit organizations return any extra income to the organization. Not-for-profits use their excess money to pay their members who do work for them. Another difference between nonprofit organizations and not-for-profit organizations is their membership. Nonprofits have volunteers or employees who do not receive any money from the organization’s fundraising efforts. They may earn a salary for their work that is independent from the money the organization has fundraised. Not-for-profit members have the opportunity to benefit from the organization’s fundraising efforts.[7]

Nonprofits are either member-serving or community-serving. Member-serving nonprofit organizations create a benefit for the members of their organization and can include but are not limited to credit unions, sports clubs, and advocacy groups. Community-serving nonprofit organizations focus on providing services to the community either globally or locally. Community-serving nonprofits include organizations that deliver aid and development programs, medical research, education, and health services. It is possible for a nonprofit to be both member-serving and community-serving.

Management

A common misconception about nonprofits is that they are run completely by volunteers. Most nonprofits have staff that work for the company, possibly using volunteers to perform the nonprofit’s services under the direction of the paid staff. Nonprofits must be careful to balance the salaries paid to staff against the money paid to provide services to the nonprofit’s beneficiaries. Organizations whose salary expenses are too high relative to their program expenses may face regulatory scrutiny.[8]

A second misconception is that nonprofit organizations may not make a profit. Although the goal of nonprofits isn’t specifically to maximize profits, they still have to operate as a fiscally responsible business. They must manage their income (both grants and donations and income from services) and expenses so as to remain a fiscally viable entity. Nonprofits have the responsibility of focusing on being professional, financially responsible, replacing self-interest and profit motive with mission motive.[9]

Though nonprofits are managed differently from for-profit businesses, they have felt pressure to be more businesslike. To combat private and public business growth in the public service industry, nonprofits have modeled their business management and mission, shifting their raison d’être to establish sustainability and growth.[10]

Setting effective missions is a key for the successful management of nonprofit organizations.[11] There are three important conditions for effective mission: opportunity, competence, and commitment.[11]

One way of managing the sustainability of nonprofit organizations is to establish strong relations with donor groups.[11] This requires a donor marketing strategy, something many nonprofits lack

One thought on “Non-profit organization

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