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How Do Non-Profit Organisations Work?

How Do Non-Profit Organisations Work?

The primary goal of many business owners is to make as much money as possible. Such a narrow focus can have a number of detrimental effects, not least a disproportional spread of wealth. This is where non-profit organisations come in - businesses dedicated to the greater good of society rather than generating lots of profit for investors and shareholders.  

What Are Non-Profit Organisations?

If you're after a non-profit organisation definition, the most obvious clue is right there in the name. Non-profits still want to make money, but the aim of doing so is not to line the pockets of owners or shareholders. The aim is to use any profits to keep the organisation going in order to pursue its objectives, whatever they may be, and grow the business so it can do more to help.  

Also known as not-for-profit organisations, non-profits are typically charities or offer some kind of public service. They often have lots in common with for-profit organisations, in terms of things like structure and business tactics. However, they're likely to have one particular cause in mind, whether it's protecting the world's wildlife or helping the homeless.  

Legally, non-profits aren't allowed to pay profits to owners or investors, while they must focus on things like charitable, scientific, religious or public service efforts. If you're wondering what is a non-profit organisation, it could be best to look at some different examples.  

Examples Of Non-Profit Organisations

One of the world's leading conservation charities, WWF-UK is an example of a non-profit organisation. Another would be Social Bite, which received £175,000 from the Postcode Community Trust thanks to players of People's Postcode Lottery. With the aim of ending homelessness in Scotland, Social Bite runs cafes where paying customers can pay for meals in advance that homeless people can collect later on. It also employs people affected by homelessness, and connects them with support and other opportunities.  

Social Bite's owners describe it as a social business, but it's still a non-profit organisation. Indeed, the website states that neither its owners or any other individual will ever become rich from the business. 

This model is somewhat unique, but you may find other non-profit organisation examples more familiar. Oxfam GB and the NSPCC are two of the UK's biggest charities, and are instantly recognisable to most people, just by name.

How To Help Non-Profit Organisations

There are so many different ways you could help non-profit organisations, whether you're interested in volunteering, you have things like food, clothes or toys to donate, or you make use of the services they offer. Go and check out your local charity shops, or if you're after a new piece of clothing, reusable coffee cup or tote bag, why not head to the WWF-UK online shop?  

Where To Get Started

If you want to get involved with a non-profit organisation, you could start with one of the charities we've mentioned above, such as:  


Oxfam GB 


People's Postcode Lottery players have raised over £34 Million for these charities so far, and you can help by signing up to play People's Postcode Lottery.

Last updated: 05/03/2021

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