10 Jul Non-Profit Organizations: Why we love them so
– By Gio Lester
Why would entrepreneurial individuals create a business to help others like them make money? That seems to go against the very core of Capitalism. But does it? And what are non-profits, actually?
Well, the truth is that non-profit endeavors and money making are not mutually exclusive concepts. Non-profits fulfill tasks for which the government is ill-suited, be it for lack of personnel, capital or time, among other things. The National Center for Charitable Statistics provides a variety of data about non-profit organizations. One of their reports allows visitors to filter charities by IRS subsection, and we can see that some non-profits’ budgets run in the billions of dollars.
I want to focus on those organizations whose work falls under the IRS’s 501(c) (3) and (6) designations, which cover educational entities and business leagues. Professional associations, such as the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT), the American Translators Association (ATA), the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Florida (ATIF), fall under those designations. These associations provide professional support through member and customer education, involvement in the development and implementation of standards, direct work with stakeholders at different regulatory levels, and more.
These tax-exempt organizations provide support to a specific segment of the population or the economy. Tax-exemption is an acknowledgment that an organization is performing an activity that relieves some burden that would otherwise fall to federal, state, or local government. The government, in fact, provides an indirect subsidy to nonprofits (tax-exemption) and receives a direct benefit in return (services).
Non-profits are businesses, and as such they require structure and capital. The structure comes from their articles of incorporation, bylaws and procedures manual, while membership dues, event fees and grants are responsible for most of their capital.
What keeps them giving, though, is PASSION. They depend on the work of volunteers to carry out their mission, keep the organization going and their objectives and work meaningful. The currency they trade in most often is thank-you. It is an emotional currency without valuation in the capitalist world we live in, but it goes a long way in the world of non-profits.
The success of these organizations rests on the shoulders of volunteers. It is YOU, your PASSION, your DETERMINATION that propels these organizations forward.
Are you ready to roll up your sleeves?