FAQ

1. What is a nonprofit organization?
A nonprofit organization (NPO) is another name for a not-for-profit organization. It is basically an organization that does not give its excess money to owners or shareholders but instead, uses the money to pursue its goals and fulfill its mission. Nonprofits are business enterprises that are not organized to make a profit and are often exempt from income and property taxation.

2. Can you make money in the nonprofit world?
Yes! Many people assume that because these organizations are called “nonprofits”, the people working in this field are poor and cannot afford to live in a decent house or buy food. Nonprofits can make a profit; they are just not designed for profit. You might not make billions and billions of dollars, but you can make enough to support yourself and your family.

3. What are some examples of nonprofits?
Hospitals, health clinics, nursing homes, higher education institutions, individual and family service agencies, vocational rehabilitation facilities, orchestras, and operas are all examples of nonprofits.

4. Where do nonprofits get their money from?
Many nonprofits get their money from individuals; in fact, that’s where 75% of the funding comes from. Foundations make up 13% of the funding, bequests make up 7%, and corporations make up 5%. Nonprofits also write grants and fundraise to get more money.

5. What is the difference between a nonprofit and a movement?
Both nonprofits and movements raise awareness about an issue. However, nonprofits are more formal and have more structure than a movement.

6. What are some characteristics of a nonprofit?
Some characteristics of a nonprofit include a public service mission, organized as a charitable corporation or a not-for-profit, and are exempt from paying federal taxes.

7. What must a nonprofit’s mission consist of?
There are three “musts” of a successful mission: opportunities, competence, and commitment. There must be opportunities for the organization to actually reach its mission, the organization must set the standard by doing something and doing it well, and the people of the organization must be passionate and committed to living up to the mission.

8. What are some well-known nonprofit organizations?
Amnesty International, the American Red Cross, Boy Scouts of America, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) are all famous nonprofits.

9.  Will nonprofit organizations even thrive in today’s world? It seems like everything these days is about competition and making money.

Yes, nonprofits can and will thrive in today’s world. In fact, nonprofits and nongovernmental agencies (NGOs) are the most rapidly growing types of organizations in the world. Nonprofits make up a big part of America’s economy and are crucial contributors to the quality of life. The number of nonprofits has increased over 25% in the past quarter century.

10. Are nongovernmental agencies (NGOs) the same as nonprofit organizations (NPOs)?
Not quite. NGOs are non-government-related organizations that work in the field of international relations, environment, human rights, humanitarian assistance, and development cooperation while NPOs are organizations that are organized, private, self-governing, nonprofit-distributing, and voluntary.

11. How do I get involved in working with nonprofits?
There are opportunities everywhere; you just need to find them. Most nonprofits are always in need of volunteers to help with fundraising, special events, or just in the office. Look up local nonprofits around your area and contact them. Many nonprofits will have volunteer information on their websites or brochures in the office.

12. Have you had any experience in working with nonprofits?
Yes, I have! Last summer (2010), I had the opportunity to tour with a nonprofit called Natural High on the Vans Warped Tour. It was an exhausting and stressful journey but also one of the most fulfilling and exciting experiences I have ever had. That was what made me decide that I want to work with nonprofits, especially those promoting drug-free and alcohol-free lifestyles and addressing mental health issues, in the music scene.

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