Nonprofits are organized around a cause, mission, or community need. They are organizations that work to serve a public purpose.
But not everyone likes the word “nonprofit.”
Many people dislike the negative prefix in the word “non-profit.” Why should the key word of the sector focus on a financial/budgeting item? And others dislike the term because not all organizations in this sector are broad public service groups — some nonprofits serve a particular group of members, such as professional societies and trade associations.
Some names you may hear:
- Charity or Charitable Sector: This focuses on the fact that these organizations rely on charitable donations and serve a charitable need in the community.
- NGO – Non-Governmental Organization: A non-governmental organization (NGO) is an organization that is neither a part of a government nor a conventional for-profit business. Usually set up by ordinary citizens, NGOs may be funded by governments, foundations or businesses. Today, according to the United Nations, any kind of private organization that is independent from government control can be termed an “NGO”, provided it is not-for-profit, non-criminal and not simply an opposition political party.
- Third Sector: This focuses on the entity’s role as separate from the government and from for-profit businesses
- Voluntary Organization, Voluntary Sector, Community Sector: This focuses on the important role that voluntary contributions play in this sector – from voluntary board members and volunteers who may run programs to voluntary contributions.
I often create new names for specific organizations with whom I work. For forward-thinking socially focuses enterprises, I like “For-Good Businesses” or “Social Enterprises.”