What Does a Nonprofit Do?

6, 7, 8
Keywords & Concepts: 

In this activity, participants explore the work of several nonprofit organizations. They contact a local nonprofit organization to learn more about their organization, what they do, and how young people can help. 

PrintOne 45-Minute Session, plus time to connect with a local nonprofit

The learner will be able to:

  • identify the work of a nonprofit organization.
  • interview a local nonprofit and learn how to help.
  • take action using their time, creativity, or voice.

Access to Learning to Give's Open Doors to Your Community resources


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Share one of the videos from the Open Doors to Your Community resources. For example: Learn about a beekeeping nonprofit in Detroit

    The Open Doors guides help young people get to know the nonprofits that address the unique needs in their community. Each "Open Doors to Your Community" guide is a virtual door that leads young people to the actual door with ideas for engagement and a brief video overview including:

    • the work of the organization.
    • the needs addressed.
    • the ways for youth to take voluntary action.
  2. To get a quick overview of the different featured nonprofits, have pairs of youth each watch one of the videos featured in the Open Doors resources. After 10 minutes, have them give a brief description of the work of the organization they learned about.

  3. After discussing their personal interest in these organizations, talk about options and decide together what one local nonprofit organization they would like to contact to learn more. Each guide provides sample questions and a sample script for contacting the organization. The purposes for contacting the organization include finding out about the work of the organization, the needs addressed, and the ways for youth to take voluntary action.

  4. Give youth the responsibility to make contact and lead the interview. Then, encourage them to use what they learned to lead action to support the organization with their time, talent, voice, or treasure. 

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. 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.
    2. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark E.2 Discuss an issue affecting the common good in the classroom or school and demonstrate respect and courtesy for differing opinions.