Nonprofit = good, business = bad. Or is it that simple?

Nonprofit = good, business = bad. Or is it that simple?

There are two very strong generalizations we want to bust the myth about…

Nonprofit organizations aren’t sustainable long term.
For-profit businesses don’t make a big difference in our world.

Nonprofits and sustainability

A lot of times when we think of nonprofit organizations the mind immediately goes in the direction of having incredibly limited resources, those involved living on a negligible income and only making a small difference in small ways.

And sure, that may be the case for many nonprofits, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Nonprofits have a responsibility to serve the public and that can be done through a myriad of ways, the list is never ending. The only way this goal can be achieved is through the raising of funds. Sometimes funds are raised through donations, other times it is raised through the selling of goods or services.

You might think, “Well the people running the nonprofit are doing what they love and don’t care if they make much money.” This is probably true, however, everyone needs to eat and have a roof over their head.

How long would you last doing what you love while struggling to get by?

This isn’t a plea to give more money to nonprofits you love. This is simply a challenge to reconsider how you view nonprofits and those who operate them.

If a nonprofit leader knows his or her family is taken care of, it gives them more energy and excitement to fulfill the mission they are striving toward. 

Let’s find ways we can make nonprofits sustainable, both for those who run them and for the mission they hope to achieve. 

Businesses and changing the world

When you ask people, “What is the purpose of a business?” many will answer, “To make money.” But let me fill you in on a little secret the most successful business owners know.

The purpose of a business isn’t to make money, but to solve problems and help people. Wait a second, doesn’t that sound a lot like a nonprofit?!

You bet it does. Just like a nonprofit, the best businesses are out to change the way people live for the better.

Sure there are businesses that only focus on the bottom line. Think about the businesses you love the most though. Why do you love them? Because they make you feel human, they see you, they want to help you become a better person. (Need I mention the parallel again?)

And if you look at the bottom line of those businesses you love, you’ll probably also find they are putting a portion of their profits toward nonprofits they care about.


In the end, black and white thinking puts limitations on both nonprofits and businesses. Sure, they may be differentiated in the eyes of the government, but let’s stop splitting them up in our minds.

Take a look around you, find someone who is driving toward a goal you love, and support them wholeheartedly. Whether it be a nonprofit or a business, your support will help them change the world.

Who will you choose to support today?

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