What is a “Nonprofit” Topic?

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    About fifteen years ago, I noticed that “nonprofit topics” almost always meant topics specific to nonprofits. I believed this was a misnomer and here’s why.

    Back then, nonprofit topics usually referred to:

    • Public policy
    • Boards of Directors
    • Strategic planning
    • Programs
    • Fundraising
    • Volunteers

    Back then, it struck me — as it does now — that there were a lot of other topics, usually seen as “for-profit” topics, that very relevant to nonprofit organizations. To mention just a few:

    • Leadership and supervision
    • Stress and time management
    • Advertising and promotions
    • Performance management
    • Compensation
    • Communications
    • Ethics
    • Insurance
    • Personal development
    • On and on and on …

    So back then, I started what I called the “Nonprofit Manager’s Library” to include the nonprofit-specific topics, but the many other “nonprofit” topics, as well. (I remember numerous people asking me why those topics were in a library for nonprofits.) Since then, I’ve renamed the Library to the “Free Management Library” to more readily imply the full scope of topics in the Library.

    Many more of us have recognized that nonprofits and for-profits have much in common with each other, as they do with government organizations, as well. I’ve learned that a small nonprofit is a lot more like a small for-profit, than a large nonprofit. Likewise, a large nonprofit is a lot more like a large for-profit.

    As we recognize the many other “nonprofit” topics, we’re able to more fully understand nonprofit organizations and how to help them.

    What do you think?

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    For more resources, see our Library topic Nonprofit Capacity Building.

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