Long Branch has a few weekly newspapers, one of which is the Atlanticville. Generally, the Atlanticville doesn’t have many interesting guest opinion editorials (unless, of course, I’m writing one). This week, though, they printed one written by James Abruzzo of DHR International’s Newark office. Some snooping over at DHR International’s website shows that Mr. Abruzzo heads up the firm’s nonprofit searches. Sounds like an interesting job.
Anyway, in his op-ed, Mr. Abruzzo makes a statement that I think bears repeating on this blog:
Contrary to its name and to what many believe, the nonprofit sector is not non businesslike; in fact, compared to government and the commercial sector, nonprofits are better managed and more efficient. Yet, by providing services that would otherwise be unaffordable in the marketplace, the sector relies on contributions and grants and it is this that makes the sector vulnerable during the financial crisis.
Bravo, Mr. Abruzzo! This is the truth, people. Nonprofts are created to fill a gap. That gap can range from a social services gap to a gap in opportunity to access certain resources or even a personal gap left in one’s family after a person passes away from a specific cause. The point is that nonprofits fill a gap that otherwise would not be filled by the government or private sector. As Mr. Abruzzo suggests, many of the services provided by nonprofits are unaffordable in the marketplace and thus the sector must rely on generosity to succeed.
Which brings me to my first point of this entry – please try to continue to send your weekly, monthly, or annual donations to your favorite charities! I’m not asking you to go out and find a new charity and start making donations to it (though if you’re in the business of donating money to new charities, let me know and I can hook you up with some good ones in Morris, Monmouth, and Mercer Counties). What I am saying, though, is that if you can afford to continue your existing donations to your favorite nonprofit organizations, please do so.
My second point in writing this entry is to reiterate a point that Mr. Abruzzo makes in his op-ed, namely that the nonprofit sector is not non businesslike. In other words, nonprofit does not mean “no profit!” In fact, nonprofit organizations have begun using the term not-for-profit instead of nonprofit to describe their business activities. The basic difference between a for-profit organization and a not-for-profit organization is that for-profit generate profits which can be distributed back to its shareholders, not-for-profits are not allowed to do this as per IRS regulations. That’s the difference in a nutshell.
Do not expect a not-for-profit company to expect not to make money on its activities. In fact, you should expect the opposite. The best not-for-profit organizations are financially healthy despite the current economy since they are built on a fiscally responsible framework made for success. I’m glad that Mr. Abruzzo kept that point in his op-ed. The world needs to know that a good not-for-profit organization should generate profits and even bank some of those profits. A good not-for-profit organization will not, however, break the law and redistribute those profits to their shareholders.
Remember this if you ever deal with a not-for-profit company!
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