Exploring Nonprofits

3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Young people identify local nonprofit organizations through the Idealist.org website. They describe what the nonprofits do for the community and how people can help with their mission.

PrintOne 50-Minute Session

The learner will:

  • identify and research nonprofit organizations in the local community using a variety of sources, including the web site www.Idealist.org.
  • copies of the handouts below


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Introduce nonprofits using the handout below, What Is a Nonprofit Organization? As examples, talk about the names and work of local nonproftis that would be familiar to the young people.

  2. Share the categories from the bottom of the handout (arts, education, environment, health, religion, social services, and foundations) and allow participants to select one of the categories that interests them. Make sure each category is covered by at least one person. They may work in pairs.

  3. Introduce the website Idealist.org and show them how to find local nonprofit organizations using key words. Give them 15 minutes to research local nonprofits within their chosen category (e.g., arts). They can use the Research Organizer handout below to keep track of the different organizations they locate. 

  4. Share the results of the research as a whole group. Each person/pair can describe the work of one of the nonprofits they identified. After each person or team shares one, they may each have a turn to share another. Discuss which organizations catch their interest and what they could do to learn more. They could visit the nonprofit, schedule a virtual meeting with an employee, or do further research to find out about their needs and what young people can do to help. 

    On a display board or chart paper record the key points. For example: the community need it addresses, what it does, how people can help, what can youth do, how far away it is.

  5. Journal prompt:

    How is the quality of life enhanced by the nonprofit organizations in our community? How would life in our community change if we did not have nonprofit organizations?

    What would you like to do with your time and talent to help a community nonprofit?

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 03. Names and Types of Organizations within the Civil Society Sector
      1. Benchmark E.1 Name and recognize the civil society sector as a separate part of the community.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Name an example of a civil society charitable organization.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 04. Philanthropy and Geography
      1. Benchmark E.2 Identify and describe how civil society organizations help the community.