We explain what a non-profit organization is and its characteristics. In addition, its operation, importance and examples.

What is a non-profit organization?

A non-profit organization is an association whose main objective is to help or attend a community , charitable, social, environmental, cultural or artistic matter, among others.

The funds raised by the organization come from donations or private actions and are used to continue with the various tasks. The funds raised are not used as profits or benefits for the members of the organization, as is the case in a business or for-profit entity.

Staff who work in a non-profit organization are usually voluntary, that is, they do not receive monetary remuneration for their work. In some exceptions, specialists or paid complementary personnel may be hired for a specific action or job.

The nonprofit organization has a significant impact on diverse populations . For this reason, the States usually consider it exempt from paying certain taxes as a way to help its work continue.

Characteristics of non-profit organizations

Non-profit organizations are characterized by:

  • Being institutions that do not seek to raise capital to distribute profits among their members.
  • Conduct all your efforts and objectives to help and collaborate with social actions , through specific causes.
  • Be entities recognized before the law that are defined according to their organization and work . Before the law it can be a foundation, association, mutual, cooperative, delegation or federation, among other variants.
  • Have a structure and internal performance similar to that of a company , with an administrative director in charge and hierarchical managers.
  • Have staff who work ad-honorem or on a voluntary basis, so they tend to change employees on a regular basis.
  • Receive donations , periodic and sporadic contributions, so they must have an orderly and transparent administration.

Functioning of non-profit organizations

Functioning of non-profit organizations

The operation of non-profit organizations must be directed by an orderly administration , because the main source of income comes from private donations and from some entities, this differentiates them from a company that obtains economic benefits for its members in exchange for the offer of products or services.

For non-profit organizations, the constant dissemination of information campaigns, awareness raising and requests for donations is essential . In addition, it is necessary for the organization to constantly keep donors and the destination of their collaborations informed.

Some organizations can also generate resources through the sale of products or the offer of a service for the general public, the value of which is allocated entirely to the activities of the organization.

It also demands constant work to retain volunteers and reach new collaborators. Since they do not receive monetary remuneration and usually offer their time, knowledge and personal contributions to carry out the tasks of the organization, it is necessary to maintain certain values to perpetuate the work in the volunteer team , such as empathy and valuing the work offered. among other recognitions.

For an adequate performance of the non-profit organization, the administration must organize and optimize the resources available, plan and anticipate future problems that may arise. It is a complex task because the shortage of capital and volunteer personnel is often a constant.

Importance of non-profit organizations

Importance of non-profit organizations

Non-profit organizations are important to all societies in the world, regardless of the level of development of each nation. These types of organizations offer the best of teamwork and humanity , because they do not seek to obtain material gain, but to help people or a common cause.

Organizations work for the common good, make shared dreams, ideals and noble causes come true . The diversity of areas in which non-profit organizations can operate are numerous, such as food aid, health, education , housing, care of the environment , social assistance, gender, among many others.

Nonprofit organizations promote social and civic engagement , leadership, and community empowerment . They work to solve problems and to empower people. The satisfaction of contributing to causes of such altruism is great.

Examples of non-profit organizations

Among the most recognized non-profit organizations worldwide are:

  • Doctors without borders. It is an organization of medical-humanitarian action that assists in more than 150 countries people threatened by armed conflicts, violence, diseases, epidemics and natural disasters .
  • Greenpeace. It is an organization that works to raise awareness about the consequences of climate change, the protection of biodiversity , the consequences of transportation and fuel production, and the crisis of the oceans due to plastic pollution .
  • International Amnesty. It is an organization that works to combat human rights abuses around the world. Help change current oppressive laws , bring torturers to justice, and unjustly free people who are imprisoned simply for speaking out.
  • Human rights without borders. It is an organization that provides assistance, listens, receives opinions and criticisms from natural or legal persons around the world, to avoid discrimination and to protect human rights beyond borders.
  • Wildlife Foundation. It is an organization that works for the conservation of the environment around the world, through innovative solutions that allow the protection of communities, wildlife and habitats.
  • Salvation Army. It is an organization that is part of the Universal Evangelical Christian Church and that works in various community programs, prevention, social and family reintegration, stimulation of learning, among others.
  • Unicef. It is an organization that works to defend the rights and help save the lives of children around the world, through inclusion, education, social policies and care in emergency situations.
  • Save Animals. It is an anti-speciesist vegan action organization that works to defend the rights of all non-human animals, especially those oppressed and mistreated by humans, based on empathy, compassion and social awareness.
  • Animal equality. It is an organization that works with governments , companies, institutions and the general population around the world to end cruelty towards farm animals and the production chain to which they are subjected.
  • Alzheimer Disease International (ADI). It is an international federation of Alzheimer's and dementia associations. It works to empower the different Alzheimer's and dementia organizations so that they are taken into account by the governments of their countries and that they become aware of the importance of considering the disease as a priority in health systems.

The above content published at Collaborative Research Group is for informational and educational purposes only and has been developed by referring to reliable sources and recommendations from technology experts. We do not have any contact with official entities nor do we intend to replace the information that they emit.


Cultural journalist with great interest in education and technological innovation in the classroom. The future passes through technology and it is already here. .

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