When is a Nonprofit Not a Nonprofit?

There are so many “dirty” words in our language, it is too bad that the nonprofit sector has to add more.  For example, too many nonprofits mistakenly believe that profit is a dirty word in our sector.  Hard to believe that there are still people out there — yes, even people who work in our sector—who think that nonprofits cannot make a profit.

The term nonprofit, which so many dislike, has nothing to do with making a profit or not; it merely denotes, albeit poorly, that Read more

November 30th, 2012 0 Comment

When is a Nonprofit Not a Nonprofit?

Last week’s blog led to a reader sending me a series of thoughtful questions (see comments).  The first question, however, generated a swift and blunt reply.

His question asked how I would classify a nonprofit organization “whose only revenue stream is governmental grants.  Are they a ‘non-profit’ or just a ‘quasi-government’ agency…?”  I love easy questions like this.  My answer?  I classify this as a “nonprofit flirting with death!”

Forget the debate on nomenclature and focus on the big picture:  long-term sustainability.  Any nonprofit that is funded Read more

Gotta Right to Sing the Blues

Maybe it is time to have a new nonprofit classification.  I’d call it “the really large ones that operate more like a for-profit than a nonprofit and give the rest of the nonprofit sector a bad name and make all nonprofits suspect in the minds of the public, the media and too many legislators.”  But I’d call them “pseudo nonprofits” for short.

The current impetus for this thinking is Blue Cross/ Blue Shield of Massachusetts.  The company revealed earlier this month that it paid its former Read more