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Free Management Library Includes Materials for For-Profit and Nonprofit Organizations

© Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC.

Sections of This Topic Include:

Goal of Integrating For-Profit AND Nonprofit Information in the Library
Nonprofit and For-Profit Organizations Have Great Deal in Common
Different Names -- Similar Concepts
Features Generally Unique to Nonprofits
Library Indicates Nonprofit and For-Profit at the Top of Each Page
Library Designates Nonprofit_Focused "Additional Information for Nonprofits" in Certain Topics
Additional Information About Comparisons of For-Profit and Nonprofits

Goal of Integrating For-Profit and Nonprofit Information in the Library

To date, there has been a great deal of online management information that, at first glance, appears exclusive to the needs of for-profits. Online management information for nonprofits tends to be focused on activities unique to nonprofits, but not to the many areas of management that are common to both for-profits and nonprofits. Consequently, nonprofit organizations tend to miss out on a great deal of useful online information about management. Hopefully, one of the outcomes from the library will be an increased range of management information available to nonprofit organizations. Another outcome might be increased understanding about both types of organizations, including their strong similarities.

For-Profit and Nonprofit Organizations Have Great Deal in Common

Many people have a misconception that nonprofit organizations are very different from for-profit organizations. While the two types of organizations are different in certain aspects (see General Features Often Unique to Nonprofits), the vast majority of management activities are common to both types of organizations.

Often, in management practices, the most important difference to focus on is the size of the organization, rather than whether it's a for-profit or nonprofit. Small nonprofits are often much more similar to small for-profits than to large nonprofits. Similarly, large nonprofits are often more similar to large for-profits than small nonprofits.

Different Names for Similar Concepts

Each of these two types of organizations tends to have its own wording for the same (or similar) concepts. The following table depicts this different wording.

For-Profit Term

Nonprofit Term

employees staff
customers clients
investors funders
products services
results outcomes (see note 2 below)
chief executive officer executive director
sales revenue

NOTE 1: For-profits often use the term "results" to mean a desired level of profit or certain solutions for customers (internal or external). Nonprofits use the term "outcomes" to mean impacts on clients, that is, enhanced learning, self-reliance, etc.

Features Generally Unique to Nonprofits

Nonprofit organizations differ from for-profit generally in the following areas:

1. Nonprofits focus more on fundraising from donors, e.g., grants, contributions, etc. For-profit organizations, on the other hand, focus more on "fundraising" from investors.

2. Nonprofits tend to focus more on board of directors' activities
For-profit corporations also have boards of directors. However, their board members are usually more highly trained and experienced in business, leadership and management than in nonprofits, where board members are often volunteers who bring strong passion for the nonprofit mission. However, with the fairly recent Enron debacle, both for-profits and nonprofits are having to focus more on developing their boards.

3. Nonprofits focus more on volunteer management
However, volunteers are (or should be) managed much like employees, e.g., with job descriptions, policies, etc.

4. Nonprofit finances are a little different than for-profit
Nonprofits focus on "human capital" whereas for-profits focus on monetary capital. Nonprofits have certain unique accounts, e.g., restricted accounts, or accounts designating funds (usually grants) that can only be spent on certain activities. However, both types of organizations carry out very similar basic bookkeeping activities, generating financial statements (they each use different names for the statements, which are also quite similar), analyzing financial statements and reporting financial information. With the recent focus on for-profits being more accountable to the community and society, for-profits are focusing more on social impacts than ever before.

5. Nonprofit taxes are different than for-profit
Many nonprofits can be tax-exempt (that is, exempt from paying federal and certain other kinds of taxes) and tax-deductible (that is, donations to the nonprofits can be deducted from the donor's gross income). Accordingly, they are expected to file certain kinds of tax forms. Certain types of nonprofits also must minimize certain kinds of activities, such as lobbying or earning over certain amounts of revenue that are not associated with the nonprofit mission.

Library Indicates For-Profit and/or Nonprofit at Top of Each Page

Information at the top of each topic in the library will indicate if the topic is intended for either for-profit or nonprofit organizations, but not both.

Library Designates Nonprofit-Focused Information With "Additional Information for Nonprofits" in Various Topics

Some topics will include a section dedicated specifically to nonprofit organizations. These sections will be marked with "Additional Information for Nonprofits".

Additional Information About Comparisons of For-Profit and Nonprofit

Two Types of Businesses -- For-Profit and Nonprofit
Legal Forms and Traditional Structures of U.S. Businesses (for-profit and nonprofit)

For the Category of Organizational Development:

Related Library Topics

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