What Does a Philanthropic Organization Do?

6, 7, 8

Using Guidestar as a source, young people identify three nonprofits and their mission statements. 

PrintOne 45-Minute Session


  • define "nonprofit" and "profit" organizations.
  • identify examples of three local philanthropic organizations and their mission statements.
  • http://www.guidestar.org - Use Guidestar Website's search engine to get an overview list of local nonprofit organizations. 
  • Home Link Assignment (see handout below) 
Teacher Preparation 

Invite a guest speaker from a local nonprofit organization

Home Connection 

Distribute Home Link Assignment for young people to make a list of three philanthropic organizations and describe what they do.



  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Ask, "Does anyone know what a nonprofit organization is?" Discuss possible answers and list traits on the board. Provide some examples of local nonprofits, such as an animal shelter, an arts organization, or a soup kitchen. 

  2. Give the formal definition for nonprofits:

  3. A nonprofit organization is an organization operating for charitable, religious, scientific, literary, or educational purposes whose income is not used for the benefit or private gain of stockholders, directors, or any other persons with an interest in the company.

  4. A for profit organization is an organization providing goods and services with a focus on profit and meeting consumer demands.

  5. Go to Guidestar.org and type in the name of your city or community. A list of nonprofits will populate the search. Look at the list and show the purpose for the organization. As you scan, have young people jot the names of the nonprofits whose work interests them. On their own, they look up three organizations and write down their mission. 

  6. Introduce a guest speaker from a local nonprofit organization, such as the American Red Cross, to explain in detail their specific organization. They should tell what they do, what need they address, how they operate/get their money, and how people can get involved. 

  7. Encourage young people to ask questions about the organization's purpose, mission statement, source of funding, and structure.

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 MS.1 Recognize terms that describe the civil society sector.
    2. Standard DP 04. Operational Characteristics of Nonprofit Organizations
      1. Benchmark MS.1 State the purpose of a mission statement and describe how civil society organization mission statements relate to philanthropy.
      2. Benchmark MS.2 Describe the basic structure of a civil society organization.
      3. Benchmark MS.3 Describe how a specific civil society organization in the community operates.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Analyze information to differentiate fact from opinion based on the investigation of issues related to the common good.