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Nonprofit and Its Vital Role in Society

Posted Nov 05 2010 4:18am
The logo of the Washington Bus, a nonprofit or...

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We’ve all heard of nonprofits, but what do they really do? Is their impact on the communities they operate in comparable to corporations and other businesses who give back to the community? Here we’ll discuss what a nonprofit does, its vital role in our society, how they’re funded and operate, and finally why we need them.

What is a Nonprofit and what does it do?

In most countries, charities, organizations, and other foundations that have received a designation like the American IRS’ 501(c)(3) status comprise most of the nonprofit sector. These include environmental activist groups, religious and church groups, foundations of all kinds, arts and culture groups, research and educational institutions, health, social, and human services. Nonprofits are different from profit groups because they use primarily volunteer workers, grants and donations from foundations and citizens.

This allows non-profit groups to try new methods that companies with stockholders couldn’t dare justify. The impact nonprofits have on those they serve is identical if not better than corporations; buying goods and services in the community, providing jobs, utilizing real estate that wouldn’t suit commercial interests, and supply vital services to communities. One thing that sets nonprofit organizations apart is the fact that it promotes the needs of the community above profit.

Economic Breakdown of Nonprofit Organizations

Since the economic collapse back in 2008, nonprofits have become an important source of jobs in a variety of fields. It’s estimated that nonprofits spend $500 billion a year, and like their corporate counterparts they have to deal with financial issues. There are firms like Saffery Champness who specialize in accounting for nonprofit orgs, and many sprouting up to fill this need.

Why Nonprofits Count

Many studies have shown that in recent years there has been disconnection in our society, changing family structure, decrease in socialization with our neighbors and relatives, and the growing use of online technologies have all contributed to this. Though they may work with a smaller budget, this doesn’t lessen their impact. Nonprofits bring people closer together who otherwise wouldn’t come into contact in their daily lives, contributing to our sense of community.

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