Nonprofit Organizations
  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.5 Define the terms "profit" and "not-for-profit."
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define and give examples of civil society sector corporations.
    2. Standard PCS 04. Philanthropy and Geography
      1. Benchmark E.1 Name examples of civil society organizations in the community.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Identify and describe how civil society organizations help the community.

In this critical thinking activity, participants sort ideas and make observations about the difference between the nonprofit sector and the for-profit sector.

PrintOne 45-Minute Session

The learner will:

  • define and give examples of nonprofit organizations.
  • distinguish the nonprofit sector from the for-profit sector.

printouts of the Notecards handout below - each group needs a set of 20 note cards (10 profit and 10 nonprofit)

  1. Anticipatory Set:

    In groups of two or three, participants sort the cards into categories in ways that make sense to them. In their groups, they decide how to name their categories. Do not give any guidance, so they discuss and make sense of the words. They may sort by any traits, allowing for creativity and reflection. After 5 minutes of sorting and discussion, ask them to describe how they grouped their cards and why. Encourage conversation around the different ways they sorted. This may bring out some observations about mission or community values.  

  2. Tell them the cards can be sorted into for-profit and nonprofit organizations.

    Define the two types of organization and give them time to discuss and re-sort with those category headings. After 5 minutes, give them feedback on what organizations fit in each of these categories and why. 

  3. As they look over their new lists, ask them to describe the common traits of the organizations in each list. Discuss what needs are addressed by then nonprofits. 

    Ask why they think we need both types. For example, businesses are best at providing goods and services. Nonprofits fill unmet needs and provide a way for individuals and groups to make change in society and contribute to their communities.

  4. While the nonprofits listed here are well established, there are nonprofit organizations formed by youth because young people see a need and take action. We each can take action with our time, talent, or treasure today. It does not need to be formalized into an organization, but it can be.

    Talk about community needs they are passionate about, such as mental health or the environment. Discuss what they can do to take action.