Talk:Nonprofit organization

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Nature and Goal[edit]

I think this page should include more information about the goals. I briefly added one of their goals, however; this page would be more informative if this section of the page is expanded. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jsong248 (talkcontribs) 03:55, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

Indeed, this page could use a lot of help in various ways. II | (t - c) 07:34, 5 June 2013 (UTC)

I believe the definition is misleading and quite possibly a direct statement to this fact should be explained. Nonprofits need and want a profit- The non-profit is not going to use the money earned to buy out a taco bell yet they will maybe improve services by hiring more personnel and or improving technology. This is a crucial piece for informing the public. NON PROFITS NEED MONEY and would love to have a PROFIT! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:30, 31 December 2015 (UTC)

Archive and distinction from not-for-profit[edit]

In the archive there were frequent questions about the difference between a nonprofit and a not-for-profit. I am fairly sure that there is no official difference. II | (t - c) 07:34, 5 June 2013 (UTC)

There is too a difference; it is a subtle yet important difference. (talk) 05:43, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

Non-profit vs. Not-for-profit (these are Not the same thing!)[edit]

The fact that the terms "Not-for-profit" and "Nonprofit" are being used interchangeably is a Huge error. These are two Distinct types of organizations. For some reason, these two terms are being used interchangeably in as well as in the "Nonprofit" article, and a re-direct page has been set up for "Not-for-profit" to redirect to "Nonprofit" which is just adding to the confusion.

Was there ever a separate page just for "Not-for-profit"? If so, it should Not have been turned into a redirect page. Either way, there should be a new page for Not-for-profit, (or at least a small paragraph) with disambiguation notes added to Both pages.

I've worked for a Not-for-profit organization before, and here's how it was explained to me: The distinction between Nonprofit and Not-for-profit is related to how each organization is allowed to bring in revenue, and how they are required to handle any net profits from year to year. "Nonprofits" are organizations that rely solely on charitable donations and/or grants, and they are restricted in the amount of net profit that they can earn per year (i.e., they must channel their net profits back into providing their charitable service).

In contrast, a "Not-for-profit" is allowed to earn Revenue (for example. fees for services that they provide) that doesn't have to be in the form of charitable donations or grants. However, there are certain restrictions on how much "net" profit they're allowed to carry over from year to year, and a certain amount of their profits must be re-invested into the infrastructure and administrative costs. The profits Don't have to be dispersed, but they can't just sit in the bank collecting interest, or earning money in some other way that's based on interest, dividends, etc, and it is Not permitted to offer publicly traded stock shares. Essentially a not-for-profit is somewhere in between a nonprofit organization and a private corporation.

Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about any of this. But as I understand it, the main distinction is related to the manner in which they earn any net profit, and what they're required to do with net profits. At least this is the case under United States' law; these definitions may vary from country to country.

--BethRogers 18:51, 29 June 2015

Here's the problem with the imposition of a distinction between nonprofit and not-for-profit, there is not one. That is, there is no legal distinction. The IRS (who dispenses charitable status, for most nonprofits that is 501c3) does not make a distinction and has decided to not get into the argument. Frankly, it doesn't care and leaves it up to the organizations to self identify. Okay, so if the feds don't make a distinction, then what about the states? With 50 different states in the US, there is no common definition to provide a distinctive overlay. States are the entities that grant "nonprofit" or "not-for-profit" organizational status but do not dispense charitable status (tax exempt). So it is possible for there to be a legal nonprofit operating without tax-exempt status but you cannot have tax exempt organization without prior state incorporation as a nonprofit (or not-for-profit, as you may prefer). So, in fact, there is not a distinction. Despite what you may have been told, both "nonprofit" and "not-for-profit" are referring to the same thing. For more information, see my article, [1] — Preceding unsigned comment added by Eia1957 (talkcontribs) 23:39, 23 August 2015 (UTC) Eia1957 (talk) 23:43, 23 August 2015 (UTC)Elliott Alvarado

Non profit templates to form a nonprofit[edit] - The webpage is not promotional. If you're going to form a non profit, you need a proper template. No state or the IRS provides a proper template in a word doc or pdf format to simply use to form a non profit. If you look at the link, you can't buy the template on the website, you can't hire a service done to form a nonprofit, you can't pay for the non profit template, therefore it's not advertising. Try searching the web for a free nonprofit template to use with IRS tax exempt language. You actually can't find one, except for the linked page. I counsel nonprofits and have had many people use that free template to establish a nonprofit. If this wiki page is actually going to help a nonprofit organization, don't you think one should be able to see what is required to start one and what exactly they will need (and get for free) to take to a state, file it, and form their nonprofit? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nonprofitassoc (talkcontribs) 21:34, 5 June 2013 (UTC)

Dear "Nonprofitassoc": Yes, the webpage is promotional. The entire web site is promotional. The "template" for nonprofit organizations may be free, but the web page is clearly part of the entire advertising program on the web site for "Northwest Registered Agent LLC." That company, according to the web site, is engaged in the business of providing services to form corporations and limited liability companies. The web site clearly states that the company charges a fee for the services. Linking to this web site is the promotion of advertising spam. The "free template" for nonprofit organizations is simply part of the advertising program for the business of Northwest Registered Agent LLC.
Many businesses include a certain amount of free materials on their web sites. The fact that no "template" to form a non-profit organization is found "for free" on the internet anywhere except the "Northwest Registered Agent LLC" web site (assuming that this is actually a fact) does not justify a link to the web site. Yours, Famspear (talk) 03:22, 6 June 2013 (UTC)
Nonprofitassoc, while I appreciate your efforts to make nonprofit filing information more accessible, I'm afraid I agree with Famspear's comments above and with Mindmartix's comments in his edit summaries and on your talk page; the website is promoting its own services (even if some of them are free), and per WP:NOTPROMOTION, it should not be linked to. –Prototime (talk · contribs) 04:22, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

I put it up there almost a year ago and it's helped a lot of people. I disagree on the promotional aspect. Every website has a purpose and generates money. Wikipedia itself generates money. If the template was housed on a school website would it be promotional because the school sells admission to its university? It would be different if the link was to a page selling nonprofit incorporations. (oh did you notice there are links on the page that do link to people selling nonprofit incorporations?) Your argument of a website being promotional isn't valid, since every website is funded somehow. The link is to a template that someone needing to form a nonprofit organization will need to actually accomplish it on their own. Again, you can't actually pay that website for the template, you can't pay the website to form a nonprofit for you, so I fail to see how the link is promotional. It's a word document. Try clicking on it. Your comments are contradictory and not accurate.

The other references are to a paid dictionary, a book for sale, publication companies selling books like this:,

and junk like this? , ,,,, more books for sale: ,

Has any of you actually looked at this webpage or are you just on some wiki regulatory mission without a cause? There's for profit links all over this page. Books to buy and an amazing amount of junk, and you guys don't want a link to a template that isn't even for sale and actually helps out a visitor to this page?

None of you make any sense. LMK. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nonprofitassoc (talkcontribs) 19:24, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

Nonprofitassoc (talk) 19:28, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

Dear Nonprofitassoc: No, it looks like the links you're citing are mainly to references -- that is, to sources for the material in the article. The link you want to provide does not accomplish that purpose. Further, if any of those links violate Wikipedia rules, they should be removed as well. Famspear (talk) 00:32, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

2 Functions[edit]

Section 2 seems to be structured somewhat illogically and haphazardly. I considered a couple quick-fixes, but I think someone will have to actually restructure that information. (talk) 08:30, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

Nonprofit vs. Not-for-profit[edit]

According to Idealist, "In a technical sense, it's probably correct to say there is no significant difference between the two terms. State "nonprofit" or "not-for-profit" corporation statutes sometimes use both terms side by side to suggest they are synonymous.

The IRS does make one distinction though. In some publications, the IRS explains that for them "not-for-profit" refers to an activity, for example, a hobby (like fishing). In contrast, "nonprofit" refers to an organization established for purposes other than profit-making. Note: nonprofit does not necessarily mean "charitable.""

According to the website Grant Space, "Generally, "nonprofit" and "not-for-profit" have the same meaning. However, nonprofit, legal, academic communities do make subtle distinctions between the two terms.

Although the words can be used differently by different groups, the simplest way to distinguish between them is to think of "not-for-profit" as an activity, like reading a book. The term "nonprofit" refers to an organization that is not intended to make a profit, like an adult literacy group."

They are not essentially the same exact thing as one refers to an action itself and the other refers to an organization's purpose and interests. Just because they both have the same basic meaning does not mean they are used in the same legal sense. An organization could be considered not-for-profit and still work loopholes around the legal definition of what "not-for-profit" really means vs. "nonprofit". There is clearly a subtle yet distinguishable difference between the two terms, and it should be noted. (talk) 05:56, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

Reply: This is the same problem as mentioned in the other category [Non-profit vs. Not-for-profit (these are Not the same thing!)] by Beth. The references cited above do not reference an outside authoritative source. When I wrote my article on this subject 15 years ago, [2], I had investigated the sources of these claims and found that they were self-referential. The IRS does *not* make a distinction between "nonprofit" and "not-for-profit" -- they don't care and don't want to be part of the discussion. To the IRS, all these organizations are "tax-exempt", unless you are not, in which case you owe the federal government some money. While the distinction above makes sense, it simply is not a legal definition. State laws could provide a distinction but I am not aware of any state that does so. Eia1957 (talk) 23:53, 23 August 2015 (UTC)Elliott Alvarado

NPO vs. NGO[edit]

This page can benefit from a clear definition of NPOs and the distinction between a NPO (non-profit-organization) and a NGO (non-governmental-organization). I think NPO is mostly used in the U.S. and I have heard NGO when people are talking about international NPOs. It's a bit hard to contribute to this page. I don't know where to start. Noel Jones (talk) 19:20, 15 November 2015 (UTC)

Structure and Headings[edit]

I am so tempted to be bold and change the whole page. If I come to this page I do like to see the following headings, but I am also worried that I am reading too much into it, going into too many details. I don't know. I wish there was an expert of some sort that we could use to improve this page.

Definition of Nonprofit Organization

  1. So hard to find a scholarly article for definition.
  2. The notion of "earn through mission" has recently been introduced but it is very different from what I am hearing from this talk saying that nonprofits love to profit.

Life Cycle

  1. There are graphs and charts form research for-profit institutes which I am hesitant to use, but they are so helpful to clarify how a nonprofit starts with an idea and how it evolves, succeeds, fails, and what contributes to them.


  1. Why a nonprofit organization should be governed by Board Members.
  2. US Government and IRS requirements
  3. Other Countries requirements


  1. Different theories about fundraising efforts
  2. The role of the Board Members
  3. The role of the Staff
  4. The role of the Foundations/Corporations
  5. The role of the Government
  6. The role of the Individual Donors

Capacity Building

  1. Staff Development
  2. Board Development
  3. Technology
  4. Branding and Communication

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Noel Jones (talkcontribs)

I agree that it needs work, but I'm not sure structures and headings you have about "roles" makes sense - it describes a theoretical sense of what a nonprofit is from your perspective, but I'd need to see sources which describe it appropriately. In many nonprofits there are no staff or only one staff member and the board and volunteers do most of the work. II | (t - c) 19:37, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

My suggestions were only suggestions, however they are not theoretical, they are from experience. This page is very important to me and today by listening to KPCC morning edition hearing Co-founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales interview ( about how he and the board is comfortable with donations and refuse and even don't think about putting ads on wikipedia and reiterated the mission of wikipedia as a nonprofit organization made me admire wikipedia even more and understand why so many people are dedicating their time and money. Above all his words made me understand the importance of this page. I am more than happy to search for credible sources, but I think it needs to be organized first. Can we use this talk page as a working page? Noel Jones (talk) 18:24, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

It might be best to create a subpage under your own user page. Link to it here and I'll take a look. You could also create a subpage under this I suppose. II | (t - c) 23:06, 16 January 2016 (UTC)


Are we using American English here or so-called British ? Both -ize and -ise endings appear throughout the page; either way, we need to be consistent. Bollystolly (talk) 11:27, 22 April 2016 (UTC)

march of dimes — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:53, 10 October 2016 (UTC)


The current definition "purpose is something other than making a profit" is generally misleading - a common fallacy. Take a UK example John Lewis (owner collective, broadly not-for profit). It's a type of company crucially defined by how profits are legally allowed to be distributed, rather than a lack of profit motive per se. I've tagged as dubious, as the dict ref is simplistic and requires a better source. Widefox; talk 11:51, 18 March 2017 (UTC)

  1. ^ Alvarado, E. (2000). Nonprofit Or Not-for-profit-Which Are You?. Nonprofit World, 18(6), 6-8.
  2. ^ Alvarado, E. (2000). Nonprofit Or Not-for-profit-Which Are You?. Nonprofit World, 18(6), 6-8.