Understanding the Value of Nonprofits

Let’s start a simple conversation on a very complex issue- the value of the nonprofit industry.

As a news junkie, I love to watch the morning news and hear all the stories both local and national. I always look at the stock market, Dow Jones, and other opportunities that show our economy is moving in the right direction. However, you’ll never hear about the nonprofit side of the economy. Our whole country is dependent upon the social not-for-profit infrastructure, but the focus is always on the negative and positive ability of the for-profit sector.

Not to start an economics debate, but a successful industrialized nations bring serious clout to the negotiating table. Wouldn’t you agree? Unfortunately, I see the good intentioned principal misplaced when it comes to the value of community capital (nonprofits causes and government groups).

Since the creation of this democracy, government entities always have been in control. We interface with NGO (nongovernment and nonprofits) unconsciously every day. All of our lives have been submersed in this “public culture” of community. Yet, we have no idea of the value of these groups because the confusing bureaucracy and historic continuum of negativity that persists in the news media culture.

With all that being said, we need to change our outlook on nonprofits because they’re a vital component to our everyday lives.

For example, an American will use, pass or interface with approximately 5 NGOs within the first four hours of their day. There are some pretty simple things that we don’t pay much attention to in regards to operations and sustainability. Keep in mind, all states and cities do what are most economically feasible for their budgets.

Here are a few:

  1. Electricity
  2. Tap Water
  3. Roads
  4. Public Transportation
  5. Public Schools

The reason why these small subsets of public commodities aren’t on S&P (Standard and Poor’s 500) is that they are high value to our expected livelihood. They have been built into our infrastructure as rights and not privileges. From public education, hospitals, social programs, and utilities, there is only one way for it to be successful – regulation via taxation.

Some form of taxes comes out of everyone’s share of the money. Unfortunately, not all NGOs have that luxury. Even though there’s an extreme need for specific nonprofit programs, governments cannot afford to fund their activities as they once did. Therefore, the fundraising responsibility has been placed on the organization.

For the link to the John Hopkins University Center for Civil Social Studies.

I write this because my business is personal. My struggles are for your gain. No strings attached.

Nathan A. Webster, MBA



Author: nathanwebster
From a US Marine to nonprofit executive director, I've been fortunate to do a lot of stuff. My quick history is I’m a brand marketer with a background in social good. In the process of running a small educational nonprofit, I learned the value of storytelling and digital branding. That’s how I got involve in marketing, websites, consulting via my podcast as well, and being an adjunct business professor at the local community college.
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