Browse Definitions:
Definition

non-profit organization (NPO)

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

A non-profit organization (NPO) is one which is not driven by profit but by dedication to a given cause that is the target of all income beyond what it takes to run the organization.

Non-profit organizations are often used for trusts, cooperatives, advocacy, charity, environmental and religious groups.

Many but not all NPOs have paid staff in management positions; almost all use volunteers. NPOs have no owners for surplus profits to go to and any surplus after operating expenses are used to further its goals instead of being distributed between members or employees of the organization. For an NPO to qualify as a government-recognized and tax-exempt organization it has to fulfill conditions set out by government agencies. In the United States, the IRS determines the validity and tax status of NPOs.

NPOs often rely on the dedication of employees who believe in their cause because it’s hard for them to compete with private sector wages. On the other hand, executive salaries are often quite high as a means of competing with equivalent positions in the private sector.

Funding can be an issue for non-profits as they often rely on external sources, such as donations. Scrupulous accounting, transparency and accountability are essential to continuation of operations, as mismanaged or misdirected funds could result in the loss of funding from both public and private sources and loss of status.

Non-profit and not-for-profit are both widely used to refer to NPOs but there are subtle differences. The United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS), for example, uses not-for-profit to refer to activities like hobbies in which revenues are not involved.

The terms NPO and NGO (non-government organization) are also often used interchangeably but they are different. NGOs are separate from government and require no government council but depend on the government for funding. However, most NGOs are also non-profit organizations.

This was last updated in January 2015

Continue Reading About non-profit organization (NPO)

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

SearchSecurity

  • black hat

    Black hat refers to a hacker who breaks into a computer system or network with malicious intent.

  • copyright

    Copyright is a legal term describing ownership of control of the rights to the use and distribution of certain works of creative ...

  • keylogger (keystroke logger or system monitor)

    A keylogger, sometimes called a keystroke logger or system monitor, is a type of surveillance technology used to monitor and ...

SearchHealthIT

  • population health management (PHM)

    Population health management (PHM) is a discipline within the healthcare industry that studies and facilitates care delivery ...

  • ICD-10-PCS

    The International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, Procedure Coding System (ICD-10-PCS) is a U.S. cataloging system for...

  • U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM)

    The U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) is the largest biomedical library in the world.

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

  • mass notification system (MNS)

    A mass notification system is a platform that sends one-way messages to inform employees and the public of an emergency.

SearchStorage

  • open source storage

    Open source storage is data storage software developed in a public, collaborative manner that permits the free use, distribution ...

  • CompactFlash card (CF card)

    A CompactFlash card (CF card) is a memory card format developed by SanDisk in 1994 that uses flash memory technology to store ...

  • email archiving

    Email archiving (also spelled e-mail archiving) is a systematic approach to saving and protecting the data contained in email ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • RRAM or ReRAM (resistive RAM)

    RRAM or ReRAM (resistive random access memory) is a form of nonvolatile storage that operates by changing the resistance of a ...

  • JEDEC

    JEDEC is a global industry group that develops open standards for microelectronics.

  • M.2 SSD

    An M.2 SSD is a solid-state drive (SSD) that conforms to a computer industry specification written for internally mounted storage...

SearchCloudStorage

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

  • Zadara VPSA and ZIOS

    Zadara Storage provides block, file or object storage with varying levels of compute and capacity through its ZIOS and VPSA ...

Close