Are Nonprofit organisations in typeface sector also Nonsalary?

javascript's picture

I am being specific to the typeface / font design sector on this forum though this concerns all nonprofit organisations. I am not happy with nonprofit organisations giving out salaries and wages to any staff. The donors monies should not be used to pay for salaries or de facto salaries. Thus the word nonprofit is a bit too broad and a distinction should be included for educating that a particular nonprofit is also nonsalary, e.g. 'A Nonsalary-Nonprofit organisation'. This should educate and help to understand that the nonprofit is serious in it's objectives. I find it objectionable and corrupt that nonprofit organisations are paying salaries, de facto salaries to staff and there are even salaried nonprofit careers. The nonprofit activity is about doing things without any personal financial gain. When you have nonprofit organisations, employment agencies putting salaries on nonprofit jobs, websites listing nonprofit jobs with salaries, it is all quite revolting.

Jackson's picture

So all non-profit work needs to be done in people's spare time?

Nick Shinn's picture

Not if you're independently wealthy, or your spouse is raking it in :-)

JamesM's picture

"Nonprofit" doesn't mean that an organization can't hire employees; it basically means that any money that remain after paying expenses is not kept by the owners or shareholders as personal profit. Most non-profits would have a hard time keeping their doors open if they had to rely just on volunteers.

Nick Shinn's picture

An irony of this situation is that a successful non-profit may be started by volunteers who don't make a cent from it, but in order to maintain and build it, they must hire workers who do get paid to work for it.

aluminum's picture

"I am being specific to the typeface / font design sector"

Uh, no, you are not. You're just trolling.

John Hudson's picture

You are confusing 'non-profit' and 'volunteer'. Profit is a particular accumulation of income above expenses, including the expenses of paying wages to people who do work and who, unless they are volunteers, are entitled to a fair wage for the work that they do. As James explains, non-profit organisations are those that do not seek to make or retain such surplus income; there is nothing to say that a non-profit organisation should not gainfully employ people in the pursuit of its non-profit goals. It is the organisation that is non-profit, not the workers. Most often, the decision whether to use volunteers or paid workers comes down to effectiveness: is an organisation more or less effective in pursuit of its non-profit goals if it relies on volunteers or pays people to work? Or, as Nick points out, an organisation that becomes effective through volunteer labour may find that it needs to employ wage earners in order to remain effective or to become more effective. For obvious reasons, the attrition or 'burn-out' rate among volunteers is generally higher than among paid workers.

Of course, there are possibilities for true corruption in this system, but there is nothing inherently corrupt about non-profit organisations paying workers. There are also possibilities for corruption in volunteer organisations, which may turn out to be generating income and hence profit from the labour of unpaid workers.

javascript's picture

@ Jackson Cavanaugh / Nick Shinn: The principle should be Nonsalary for Nonprofits. Offer spare time or full time. Rich or not rich. If the Nonprofit is serious it should be Nonsalary.

@ James Michaels / John Hudson: What it should mean and what it is speculated to mean is a problem. Nonprofit should also mean Nonsalary. There is an ingrained problem with meanings / interpretations in value and moral spheres, e.g. 'Thou Shall Not Kill' is often considered to mean only humans and does not include animals. This is wrong. It should also include land, see and air animals. Similarly 'Nonprofit' should mean 'Nonsalary.'

@ Darrel Austin: Please see previous paragraph.

javascript's picture

typo correction: ....It should also include land, sea and air animals.....

Theunis de Jong's picture

Eating a plant will kill it as well.

Washing your hands after toilet use kills millions upon millions of perfectly innocent bacteria.

aluminum's picture

What, exactly, does your disagreement with the established legal definition of non-profit have to do with typography?

At least when Joe trolls us with his personal vendettas they are tangentially related to type somehow.

If you're not going to step up to the plate and get a bit more creative with your trolling, then please leave.

BlueStreak's picture

Javascript said, "Similarly 'Nonprofit' should mean 'Nonsalary.'"

I understand your point. I know several instances where non-profit businesses were established that never made a declared profit, but have been enormously profitable to those who started the business through salaries. However I disagree that non-profits shouldn’t be able to help hire people to help fulfill the mission. Too many good deeds are done by charitable non-profits with hired hands.

These are non-typographic related, but the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the RedCross and others come to mind quickly. Locally here in Memphis we have St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital. They pay some pretty hefty salaries to research physicians, administrators, as well as marketers, housekeepers and thousands of others, yet it is a non-profit organization. All income is put back into the mission of eliminating catastrophic childhood diseases. The progress they have made over the last several decades is stunning. You’re saying that all of those thousands of people working on that mission should live in poverty or the work they do just not be done? Or do you think St. Jude should be considered a profitable organization just like Exxon-Mobil?

I get your point, but the totalitarian statement that non-profit should therefore mean non-salary would do more harm than good. It’s up to donors to provide the due diligence and review the legitimacy of the entity and check the organizational efficiency, review the operating and administrative costs. There is and will always be abuse, but the fix isn’t to force the elimination of the work the good organizations are doing.

And like DA, I'm still missing what this has to do with the typography business.

JamesM's picture

Many nonprofits use volunteers for some of their part-time positions -- a museum docent, a Sunday school teacher, a server in a soup kitchen, a Salvation Army bell-ringer at Christmas, etc. But few people are able to volunteer for more than a few hours a week. There's just no way that most nonprofits could keep their doors open if they couldn't hire some of their staff, especially when it comes to full-time and skilled positions.

As others have mentioned, I'm not sure what this has to do with typography. Do you have a gripe with some typographic organization?

Mugford's picture

Can we start charging "javascript" for the time wasted by responses to his troll-posts?

John Hudson's picture

Nonprofit should also mean Nonsalary.

So you assert. Assertion does not make it so. Where is your analysis? Here is mine:

There are for-profit organisations that seek to generate surplus income that constitutes accumulated capital, which may be disposed of according to the will of owners or shareholders.

There are non-profit organisations that do not seek to generate surplus income or that direct such surplus income back into supporting the non-profit goals of the organisation.

There is for-wage labour, which is a commodity sold by workers in order to provide for their livelihood and to support their families. [There is a long and important discussion possible on the terms under which labour is bought and sold, but it isn't necessary to this analysis.]

There is non-wage labour that is freely offered by the workers, i.e. volunteer labour, expecting no payment. [There is also non-wage labour that is not freely offered, i.e. slave labour.]

Now, it should be clear from this that we're talking about two different things: the business model under which the organisation pursues its goals -- whether those goals involve profit or not --, and the business model under which the worker makes his or her labour available to the organisation -- whether for a wage or not. The organisation is not the worker, and the worker is not the organisation. The worker is a man or woman who is providing his or her labour to the organisation, whether selling that labour or offering it freely. Labour is a commodity, and if you want to really grasp the implications of this for your assertion, consider whether a non-profit organisation might reasonably pay rent for the property it occupies, or whether it might pay for the electricity it uses, or whether it might pay for the computers that it uses? All these things could be donated for free by supporters of the organisation's goals -- and often they are -- just as labour may be donated by volunteers, but equally they must often be paid for by the organisation, just as labour must often be paid for.

That is my conclusion: there is no fixed correlation between the business model of an organisation and the business model of labour provided to that organisation. A non-profit organisation may employ paid workers or volunteers or, as James points out, some combination of the two. Likewise, a for-profit organisation does not automatically imply paid labour; that is the norm in our societies, but there are plenty of places in the world in which non-volunteer unpaid labour (slavery) is still found, and cases of indentured (compelled) labour, especially involving immigrant workers, are regularly uncovered in our own societies despite laws against such practices.

The only time when there is a direct correlation between the business model of an organisation and the business model of labour is when the worker owns the means of production, and earns his livelihood not from selling his labour but directly from the fruits of that labour. That's how I run my own business, but that's another topic...

qualitycontrol's picture

Can we start charging "javascript" for the time wasted by responses to his troll-posts?

No, we have to charge the responders.

I really can't believe people are even humoring this person.

javascript's picture

@ Theunis de Jong : There are certain biological commonalities between humans and animals. There are also certain reactionary commonalities. We need to carefully examine.

@ Darrel Austin / David Kimball / Paul Phillips (and others) : Regarding certain typography (or similar) organisation examples or what this internet forum posting thread has to do with typography (or similar). There are typography (or similar) Nonprofit-calling organisations, thus it is relevant. I am sure that some typographers (or graphic designers) also are / have done projects for Nonprofit-calling organisations. Perhaps some even have done courses etc run by Nonprofit-calling organisations. Typographers (graphic designers) also donate funds to Nonprofit-calling organisations. There is also Nonprofit-calling organisation font license used by typographers and those who commission typography projects. Thus this thread is relevant.

@ Dan Hall / James Michaels : Nonprofit the word (and similar) has a certain meaning and it should not be exploited in it's meaning. Sadly it has been. Materialistic governments have given their own meaning to this word. Donors have also been exploited as a result. There has been a covering put by misusing, leaching and licensing the word Nonprofit and similar. Those Nonprofit-calling organisations that are paying salaries to have things done, should state it explicitly that they are paying salaries to staff. Why hide this information from their letterhead or footer statement? Should not governments put a law for this to happen etc?

@ John Hudson : We first need to understand that the word Nonprofit (and similar) has been exploited (see above) and if an organisation is using this word then it must be honest. It needs to state that it is for-salary or pays them and it is not 100 percent Nonprofit. The so-called Nonprofit or the Nonprofit-calling organisation is deciding whether it pays salaries or not. It should state it explicitly as it does when it says that it is a Nonprofit. In the USA, the words 501(c), see -- are used quite often to describe a Nonprofit-calling organisation and they use it often for donations. They should state it there that they pay salaries and thus they are not 100 percent Nonprofit or that they are Semi-Nonprofit.

russellm's picture

So many words wasted on such a silly question.

javascript's picture

@ Russell McGorman : We are all individuals having different priorities.

Té Rowan's picture

Especially since javascript totally (deliberately?) misunderstands the term 'non-profit'.

javascript's picture

@ Reynir Heiðberg Stefánsson : 'Corporate-ising' a word or claiming special ownership of it does not change it from it's ordinary usage and meaning.

Theunis de Jong's picture

'Corporate-ising' a word or claiming special ownership of it does not change it from it's ordinary usage and meaning.

A-ha -- but the same goes for the letter 'K'.

Just to roundtrip back to this forum's raison d'être.

John Hudson's picture

They should state it there that they pay salaries and thus they are not 100 percent Nonprofit or that they are Semi-Nonprofit.

Of course any non-profit organisation should be transparently open in disclosing whether or not it pays either salaries to its officers or wages to its workers, and most countries require that by law of non-profit organisations. But whether they pay or do not pay officers or workers does not affect their status as non-profit organisations. They are not rendered ‘not 100% non-profit’ or ‘semi-non-profit’ because they pay salaries or wages. Once again: the organisation and the people who work for it are not the same thing; it is the organisation that is non-profit, the people who work for it may be volunteers or wage earners without affecting the status of the organisation.

Consider several different non-profit organisations:

Organisation A discloses that it does not pay any salaries to its officers and uses only volunteer labour.

Organisation B discloses that it pays a salary to its executive director, a full-time position, but not to other officers who are part-time volunteers; it pays a wage to the secretary/receptionist, but not to various other volunteer workers who come in a couple of days each week to help out.

Organisation C discloses that it does not pay any salaries to its officers, pays wages to some workers, e.g. secretary and the IT staff, but does not pay wages to the volunteers who come in once a month to stuff envelopes.

Organisation D pays a salary to its full-time executive director, a stipend to its other officers, and an hourly wage to employees.

But despite these very different disclosed models of paying or not paying individuals for their time and labour, these are all non-profit organisations, because as organisations they do not seek to generate surplus income to be disposed of beyond expenses at the will of owners or shareholders. That is the criterion of a non-profit organisation, not whether the people who work for it are paid.

'Corporate-ising' a word or claiming special ownership of it does not change it from it's ordinary usage and meaning.

Indeed, but you are the one who is trying to assert a special, un-ordinary and uncommon usage and meaning of the term ‘non-profit’, a term that I have demonstrated -- demonstrated, mind you, by analysis, not merely asserted -- is independent of the renumeration of labour. The common meaning and usage of non-profit refers to the activities and financial model of organisations that do not seek to create profit and which, if they create a working profit inadvertently, must recycle that profit into the operation of the organisation. This in contrast to a for-profit enterprise, which exists in order to create profit that may be withdrawn from the organisation by owners or shareholders. You are trying to assert a contrast between non-profit and salary-paying; this is a false contrast because salaries are not profit, they are expenses. The valid contrast is between non-profit and for-profit.

abattis's picture

Umm, what are these non-profit type design organisations? I know of only SIL International.

javascript's picture

@ Theunis de Jong : We are discussing seriously on a topic that is serious. The k/K alteration to another shape is another topic that has been discussed on this forum.

@ John Hudson : With due respect to your postings, your latest is basically a repeat. I am requesting that you go beyond the corporate-ist meaning and it's ownership by certain groups and individuals. When so-called Nonprofit organisation according to 501(c) (in the USA) is saying that they are a Nonprofit and requesting donations, they should state in toto whether they are paying salaries. Nonprofit should mean Nonsalary. If the so-called Nonprofit organisation is paying salaries to anyone then it is not 100 percent Nonprofit. It is a 'mixture' that could be expressed as Semi-Nonprofit.

It is not just a USA issue. Even in Britain the same thing is happening where Charities are claiming they are charitable even when they are giving salaries. The Nonprofit word has been manipulated to include salaries, this is a form of money laundering. It has occurred more as governments have become materialistic, corporate-ist and secular based. I detect some barriers in our discussion where the actual common meaning and symbolism of the Nonprofit word is being ignored. I requested the Charity Commission in England (who govern registered charities) under the Freedom of Information Act to provide me figures for salaries that charities are paying. By the way the Charity Commission also publicises their accounts on it's website, They told me that they could not provide the figures and I would have to get figures myself individually for each charity. Here is a government funded agency who cannot provide this basic information. What this suggests is that they want to ignore the salaries issue and want to manipulate the true meaning of the word Nonprofit that is also Nonsalary.

A progressive move for a real Nonprofit organisation would be to put on it's header or footer for e.g. 'A Nonsalary-Nonprofit organisation'.

@ Dave Crossland : Please research so-called Nonprofit organisations in your sector via perhaps the internet.

Nick Shinn's picture

Javascript, if you had some experience of volunteering for or organizing charities, then you would know how impractical your position is.

BeauW's picture

First, I think the idea that people who do meaningful work that is not profitable at a self-sustaining level should not get paid is absurd. The salaries going to non-profit employies serve to make the world a better place. The idea that the money I donate might be used to suport someone who can concentrate their intelligence on making the world a better place is fine with me.

Second- does anyone else get the impression that this thread is not trolling, but rather a turning test?

John Hudson's picture

‘Javascript’, you are the one who is repeating himself and not offering anything new to the discussion other than asserting, again, that ‘Nonprofit should mean Nonsalary’. I have demonstrated by analysis why these are two concepts that can and do exist independently of each other. How else could we meaningfully describe a for-profit organisation that was also non-salary? Indeed, if non-profit meant non-salary, why would we bother having two terms at all? We have these two different terms because they refer to two different things.

If you are claiming that there exists corruption in some organisations and that paying of salaries by non-profit organisations is being used as a means of money laundering, that is surely true. These things happen, and it is to combat these things that laws require non-profit organisations to disclose their budgets, and why some organisations become the subject of investigation for fraud. So, given that this is the case, that laws are deemed needful to enable to monitoring and investigation of non-profit organisations to ensure that they are not laundering money or defrauding donors, you might ask why it is that the law also permits non-profit organisations to pay salaries to their officers and wages to their workers? It is because this has been proven over time to increase the effectiveness of many organisations in the pursuit of their non-profit goals. In this as in other areas, the law permits the risk of abuse in order to also permit a greater good.

BlueStreak's picture

"Nonprofit should mean Nonsalary"

It's as simple as this; no one agrees and you stand alone with that expectation.

javascript's picture

@ Nick Shinn / Beau W / John Hudson / Dan Hall : I have in the past volunteered part time for Nonprofit organisations that I realise now were so-called Nonprofit organisations only. I was not paid a salary by them I am glad to say. I have had to really put my ears to the ground and understand the Nonprofit word should mean Nonsalary as there is so much rubbish propaganda by so-called Nonprofit organisations who are paying salaries to their staff. Thus I understand their influencing you on this forum as sadly this rubbish propaganda influenced me in my decisions in the past. You might have created some fonts or logos etc for them also so as to influence others with their communication.

In a way those so-called Nonprofit organisations who are paying salaries are funding private lifestyles and thwarting their Nonprofit objects, vision and mission. Thus for them to have salaries they need bad things happening in societies to put their case for giving salaries. This formula sustains them it can argued. So they are 'under-the-scene' [insider shipping] subtly friendly with 'baddies' that they claim 'on-the-scene' to society at-large are 'enemies'. This is because 'baddies' are in a way giving opportunity to them to get a salary.

Another issue for so-called Nonprofits is outsourcing their particular duties to other companies, individuals and organisations. This could be said to be de facto salaries. In Britain the word 'Chuggers' is being mentioned by public and also the media to criticise so-called Nonprofit organisations. What this particular word means etc can be read from for e.g.: --
22 February 2011 'Chuggers' or face-to-face street fundraisers?
27 Aug 2010 'Chugger' premiums can swallow donations
27th August 2010 How much do chuggers cost?

Thus those so-called Nonprofit organisations who internally pay salaries to staff are also Chuggers albeit 'internal' Chuggers and if they outsource their fundraising or other duties to others for which money or commission is paid by them then they are both 'internal and external' Chuggers or 'Double Chuggers.'

BeauW's picture

In other words: "it is bad to be remunerated for useful activities that do not generate monetary profit." To reattach with the world of fonts- a legitimate need, like a fully functional phonetic alphabet, which requires more work than will be justified by the financial reward, should never be undertaken except as an amateur production. You (javascript) can not conceive of any benefit to paying someone to make a professional quality font for scholars or linguists, the small group of whom will never be able to monetarily repay the effort. You are saying that money should never be extended without the possibility of financial profit?

I can think of at least three non-profits I worked with who were making the world a better place simply by letting a number of wonderfully intelligent and creative people step out of the rat race and live comfortably (if not richly) while doing further good in the world.

Mugford's picture

Turing test :)

Nick Shinn's picture

Javascript, I agree with your analysis, there are a lot of time-servers working at charities.
So you have volunteered, but have you ever tried to organize?
I've been involved with a number of clubs and organizations, and it is sooo difficult to make the bridge from an impassioned start-up, fuelled by volunteers, to a durable institution. The founders get burned out, and then what? Without putting someone on the payroll, the organization will wither.

We can't have a society where reformers and critics are consigned to the role of pesky, short-lived gadflies.
How to you propose to maintain an organization capable of serious and sustained contributions, such as Amnesty, WWF, Medecins Sans Frontiers or Greenpeace, without salaried workers? How do you propose to raise funds for a website or printed materials to spread the word, or distribute contributions? These organizations have to compete with corporate marketing of consumer products and services, and companies that use cause marketing, hiring professionals to create campaigns which hit you up for cash at the supermarket check-out.

Like it or not, this is the 21st century, not the 19th, when wealthy wives not admitted into the workforce were the do-gooders.
It will be interesting to see how David Cameron's great leap backwards from the welfare state works out, as well as similar events in Wisconsin.

JamesM's picture

> The founders get burned out, and then what?

Yep, I've seen many instances of highly devoted people burning out. In fact I'm sometimes wary of volunteers who seem overeager, as I figure they're more likely to burn out and move on. Folks who devote smaller amounts of time are often better at staying in it for the long haul.

In some cases I suspect it's an adrenaline-rush kind of thing. People get involved in a new cause and it's exciting at first, but when things start settling down into a dull routine they move on.

There are exceptions, of course, but I've seen it many times.

> not the 19th [century], when wealthy wives not admitted
> into the workforce were the do-gooders.

Yes that's a change that has really affected volunteer organizations. For example, there's a women's club in my town that used to have hundreds of members, mostly homemakers, and they were constantly doing volunteer work. These days their membership has dwindled down to mostly just retirees. Most of the younger women have full-time careers.

javascript's picture

@ Beau W / David Kimball / Nick Shinn / James Michaels : Though you are not boldly declaring that you favour 'Retainers' / regular timely outsourced payments etc for type design and graphic design etc paid by so-called Nonprofit organisations who pay salaries to their staff, you are putting various arguments some which are vague.

The so-called Nonprofit organisations which pay salaries to their staff are using word/s such as Nonprofit/s, Philanthropy/ic and Charities (NPC) etc and this is not proper and instead they should say on their headers/footers etc that they pay salaries to staff / are Semi-Nonprofits etc. NPC should mean Nonsalary.

Mark Simonson's picture

It's hard to imagine a less profitable use of one's time than attempting to change the universally accepted definition of a word.

jabez's picture

>NPC should mean Nonsalary.

Why bother with the word 'salary' at all if you're not paying any? Could just call it "Free"?

That is not proper. Then "Sleep" should be changed to "Nonawake". Breakfast should be replaced with Nonlunchdinnersupper.

Té Rowan's picture

A non-profit corporation may not make money for its owner(s). Good enough for me. A far as I know (a coupla hen-feet at most), SIL International is the only such that makes its own fonts/faces. No idea if they are all-volunteer or not. Not concerned about it either. For me, if it's ideology v pragmatism, pragmatism wins. Getting the job done beats getting to sit on a high horse.

javascript, you expect those that organise things in a large non-profit to be at your beck and call 24/7 for free? Please excuse my Klatchian, but... bakayarou!!!!!

John Hudson's picture

NPC should mean Nonsalary.

Let's come at this from the opposite tack. Does — or should — non-salary mean non-profit? Well, clearly it doesn't because there are all too many examples of for-profit enterprises, throughout history and still today, not paying salaries or wages to the people who do the work. And if non-salary were to mean non-profit then we would need to come up with new words to describe such enterprises. Again we see the essential independence of the profit orientation of an enterprise (for profit vs non-profit) from the remuneration of its workers (salaried or waged vs volunteer or slave). Again, the organisation is not the worker and the worker is not the organisation.

I do not disagree with you at all the non-profit organisations should transparently disclose a) that they pay salaries to their officers and wages to their workers and b) what percentage of their revenues are disposed in this way. This is, in fact, pretty standard practice under law in many jurisdictions that formally recognise non-profit organisations for legal and tax purposes. What I disagree with is your idiosyncratic insistence that these non-profit organisations are in some sense not really non-profit or only semi-non-profit. They are non-profit organisations that pay their workers, and that does not make them non-profit, since paying salaries and wages is an expense.

If I'm donating money to an organisation, one of the first things I want to know about the organisation, apart from its goals, is what percentage of its revenues are disposed in administrative costs, including salaries, wages, rents, etc. As a rule of thumb, I avoid giving to organisations that expend more than 10% of revenues on administrative costs. These are costs, not profits, and my concern is not that they impinge in any way on the non-profit orientation of the organisation -- they do not --, but that this percentage represents a measure of how efficient and effective the organisation is in pursuing its goals.

John Hudson's picture

Note also that administrative costs, which includes salaries and wages paid to officers of the organisation and its workers, do not include expenditures in direct pursuit of the goals of the organisation. So, for example, if a non-profit organisation exists in order to enable production of some thing, e.g. a collection of fonts, that will be made freely available, on a non-profit basis, to the public, it is quite within the mandate of that organisation to pay someone to create those fonts, or to pay to purchase the rights to fonts, because that is the goal of the organisation. Yes, this means that the person who creates the fonts is profiting, but he is profiting from the products of his labour, just as if he were creating the fonts for any other client, and his labour is -- or should be -- entirely independent of the non-profit organisation. He is profiting, not the non-profit organisation.

javascript's picture

@ Mark Simonson / Hozea / Reynir Heiðberg Stefánsson / John Hudson : I have found corruption in the way the Nonprofit word and similar is being defined because some in economics, accounting, law, governments etc and sectors such as yours are erroneously diluting the meaning. It should mean Nonsalary.

I understand that you want retainers and steady timely regular payments though it is different doing this with an organisation claiming they are Nonprofit, Philanthropic-funded or Charitable etc and at the same time they are giving salaries to staff and de facto salaries to others or yourselves. They are diluting the meaning of the Nonprofit word, they are cheating the system and you could be enabling them by doing projects for them.

Are the Police the 'zig' or the 'zag' in this 'zig-zag' society called a Nonprofit organisation? Not here in Britain based on my experience. Then why should another 'alt.-Police', another 'zig' or 'zag' in this 'zig-zag' society be de facto calling itself 100 percent Nonprofit when they are paying salaries? The Police are paid salaries and these are funded by governments or are generally and they carry out necessary things for society and they are not called Nonprofit organisation. These 'alt-Police' organisations they do their necessary things for which they are not always funded by governments or fully by governments. Some are referred as NGO or Non-Governmental Organisations, Why should they call themselves de facto 100 percent Nonprofit when they are similar to the Police paying salaries for doing the 'zig' or the 'zag'?

Té Rowan's picture

No. Non-profit should not mean non-salary. Salaries are expenses as far as a corporation is concerned, since they are money leaving the corporation's own account. That the money goes to the corporation's staff is irrelevant. This, incidentally, answers why corporations do all these tricks so they can pay lower salaries. Paying salaries cuts into their profits.

John Hudson's picture

“I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’ ” Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’ ”

“But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master that’s all.”

Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. “They’ve a temper, some of them—particularly verbs, they’re the proudest—adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs—however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!

[Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass.]

Rinse, repeat. Rinse, repeat.

russellm's picture

apologies all 'round, but I'm pullin' a Hrant here!
Where's the type?.

... And also, who the hell ever heard of "Nonprofit organizations in [the] typeface sector" ?

dezcom's picture

The U.S. Government is a non-profit organization by act of Congress. They are required to send any excess money back to taxpayers after all government debts are paid. Other than a teensy boost in tax rebates by the Clinton Administration after they showed a surplus for the first time in history, this never happens ;-)

dezcom's picture

GPO or the Government Printing Office, is in the typeface use and printing business but they contract out 95% of what they do to for profit American businesses and even a few places like "Lighthouse for the Blind" and places that hire handicapped workers in large numbers/

Té Rowan's picture

SIL International could be counted as one, even if their fontography exists to facilitate their main goal, spreading the Word. (And, no, the Word is not 'legs', to my sore disappointment.)

William Berkson's picture

>'Corporate-ising' a word or claiming special ownership of it does not change it from it's ordinary usage and meaning.

Javascript, it is you who are quite mistaken about the ordinary usage and meaning of the term "non-profit organization." As director of a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, The Jewish Institute for Youth and Family, I am well aware of what being a non-profit means. It is defined very clearly in the beginning of the Wikipedia article:

"A nonprofit organization (abbreviated as NPO, also known as a not-for-profit organization[1]) is an organization that does not distribute its surplus funds to owners or shareholders, but instead uses them to help pursue its goals.[2] Examples of NPOs include charities (i.e., charitable organizations), trade unions, trade associations and public arts organizations. Most governments and government agencies meet this definition, but in most countries they are considered a separate type of organization and not counted as NPOs. In most countries, NPOs are exempt from income and property taxation.

"Ownership is the quantitative difference between for- and not-for-profit organizations. For-profit organizations can be privately owned and may re-distribute taxable wealth to employees and shareholders. By contrast, not-for-profit organizations do not have private owners. They have controlling members or boards, but these people cannot sell their shares to others or personally benefit in any taxable way."

As you see in the Wikipedia article, this definition basically holds around the world. Around the world non-profit does not mean non-income or non-salaried, but relates to the purposes of the organization, and restrictions on how the income may be used—the key thing being that it cannot issue stock and give dividends.

You are entitled to your views, but you don't control the meaning of words, which in this case are carefully defined legally, as well as in common practice.

I would also join the chorus in agreeing that requiring that non-profit organizations be also all-volunteer would kill most of them. And the existing very large non-profit sector in the US, in particular, has had the admiration of many countries.

And by the way, we at the Jewish Institute for Youth and Family gratefully receive your tax-free contributions and put them to good use helping children and families :)

javascript's picture

p.s. My previous posting on this internet forum thread shows this time: 9.Apr.2011 3.41pm based on server location / forum software's time. I actually posted the comment approximately / nearly 1 hour earlier, say 2.47pm. Due to corrections etc from then on, the last one being at 3.41pm this is what is seen reflected on time stamp of the posting.

javascript's picture

William Berkson / Reynir Heiðberg Stefánsson / Russell McGorman/ John Hudson / Chris Lozos :

The hustle/anarchy in the Forprofit sector brings employees salaries and other questionable behaviours into the scene.

On the opposite and at higher behaviours is the Nonprofit organisation. The employees salaries and de facto salaries e.g. outsourced project payments are not compatible with the Nonprofit word. If specifically the scientific and technical qualification resources are not there in the Nonprofit organisation for mechanisation / automation of a spiritual ceremony objective for an eternal guru, that I would say as being topmost important, then outsourced project payments could be possible for ‘main’ mission if Nonsalary cannot be negotiated with the outsourcing concerns. If it proves totally and globally across the board too expensive to outsource due to monopoly fashioned pricing or greed then this a major problem.

brockfrench's picture

Profit is the value gained from doing something. If I pay a dollar for a service that renders two in return, I can use that dollar to maximize and stabilize my efforts. Payroll is a cost.

I suppose if I have one dollar and I buy a mosquito net for a child, and I make no cash value in return, the profit is that the child doesn't get malaria and die... Further, If he survives, and grows up to be a famous Congolese typographer who creates the new logotype for my 20-some-odd-year flailing non-profit, and does the work pro bono... have I made an additional profit?

And if something happens to Bono, will The Edge take over his philanthropic agenda on his behalf?

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