Non-Profits Myths

Here are the Top Eleven myths about working for nonprofit organizations:

1.Corporations Don’t Gift Non-Profits
Corporations have multiple ways of supporting nonprofits. Corporate giving programs account for 77.5 percent of all corporate gifts. These business gifts are usually not the typical gift basket, flowers, jewelry etc that sent during holidays, or as a celebration after a successful business deal, or as a means of showing appreciation at the retirement of a long term employee or business partner. Corporate gifts to non-profits tend to be more substantial such as a corporate sponsorship as a great way to increase streams of revenue for the nonprofit. Corporations often support nonprofits in additional ways as well through marketing, public relations, and advertising budgets. Law offices, although usually not corporations, also support non profits in direct monetary ways, as well as offering pro bono services. Take for an example a car accident lawyer‘s office whose legal team might offer legal services for needy clients through a community outreach service. First of all a car accident attorney would provide valuable advice about whether to sue or to just follow through with the insurance claim. If the person were injured and sustained serious injuries with possible long-term consequences that would impact complete recovery then a lawyer would be helpful. Many car accident experts say that a person who qualifies has a much greater chance of successful navigation of the potentially complicated process by working with a car accident lawyer. And I can honestly say, having gone through the process for myself after I was seriously injured that it can be long and arduous. Victims of a car accident are at a decided disadvantage if they attempt to challenge an insurance company without a car accident lawyer at their side. Car accident attorneys are paid on contingency basis, but those “gifting” their services to a non profit could forgo the fees once they won the case, giving the monies to the non profit instead.

2. No one makes any money in the nonprofit sector.
The terms “nonprofit” and “charitable” have a certain connotation, and they conjure up images of altruistic folks who toll away for free. Not true. Many non-profit CEO make millions each year. According to Independent Sector, a whopping $670 billion is earned by nonprofit organizations annually – and one in twelve Americans work in the nonprofit sector.

3. Those that couldn’t hang in the business sector end up in the non-profit sector
Nonprofits are chock full of highly-intelligent people with graduate degrees and years of experience in the business sector. Proof of their intelligence – see #1 above. The key reason why they fell into the non-profit sector is largely based on their passion for their work.

4. There’s no upward mobility in nonprofits

In reality, the non-profit sector provides many people a lifetime of exciting and rewarding work. Also, NPOs tend to offer young people more leadership / advanced opportunities than other sectors.

5. Everyone that works in the nonprofit sector is a sweetheart

You’ll find as many difficult personalities, big egos and office politics in the nonprofit sectors as you would in the for profit sectors. People are people.

6. NPOs aren’t competitive – and they all pull together.
See #4 above. Especially in a declining economy, nonprofit organizations compete intensely, all vying for dwindling funding, recognition and media attention.

7. NPOs waste time and money, literally.
There’s an assumption that nonprofit organizations don’t have clear bottom lines not have clear bottom lines or profit margins; because of dwindling funding, nonprofits generally need to be even more creative and efficient with spending than the for profit counterparts.

8. Nonprofits only do direct service work.
Many people who work for NPOs are actually accountants, sales people, computer programmers, human resources professionals, fundraisers, managers, and executives, not to mention researchers and advocates. They’re not all soup kitchen workers or mentoring pros.

9. NPOs are informal and lack resources.

Many hospitals and universities with multimillion dollar annual budgets are NPOs. Business attire is actually the norm at many nonprofits.

10. NPOs support left-wing causes.
The nonprofit sector itself doesn’t have a political agenda – and the fact is that many organizations exist solely to provide services and promote interests that the government doesn’t. In other words, you’ll find right-wing, left-wing and centralist tendencies in the NPO world.

11. Working for a nonprofit is exactly like volunteering.
True that many nnprofits rely on volunteers to do some of their direct services work. They, though, are often shielded from the organizational, financial, and other challenges with which the actual employees of an organization must deal.

If you have any questions regarding other myths I would love to hear from you anytime.

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