Nonprofits Are Businesses, Too

Posted by: Economic Development Team on Friday, January 18, 2019

The Nonprofit Institute at CSM is Southern Maryland’s comprehensive resource for nonprofit organizations, offering programming and consultation to enhance their effectiveness and achieve success in fulfilling their missions. In our latest blog, guest blogger Cara Fogarty, Charles County Coordinator for the Nonprofit Institute, gives insight into this vital industry sector. 

 

"Perhaps the key difference between nonprofit and for-profit businesses lies in perception — society’s and their own," notes nonprofit consultant, Sonia J. Stamm.

When many of us think of a nonprofit organization, we conjure up images of people helping people:  people serving food to the hungry, helping the homeless find shelter on a cold winter’s night, or helping others learn to read, to name a few.

What we don’t usually envision when we think of nonprofits are things like payroll taxes, insurance, and return on investment. Those are things for businesses to think about, right? Nonprofits, we tell ourselves, simply ask others for money or perhaps write a grant proposal or two, and then use that money to help others in some way.

Guess what? Nonprofits are businesses too. Although set up differently than a for-profit business, nonprofit organizations must be concerned about the bottom line and in many cases, all those other things previously mentioned.

A common myth is that a nonprofit can’t actually make a profit.  However, to survive, nonprofits must ensure that their revenues exceed their expenses. If they don’t, the nonprofit is out of business. While the goal of a for-profit business is to see a profit from the provided service or product, the goal of a nonprofit is to meet its mission.

Some nonprofits are run entirely by volunteers and thus don’t have to concern themselves with payroll taxes and related concerns. However, many nonprofits have paid staff who are often highly experienced professionals in their field – accountants, marketers, human resources, etc. With paid staff, a nonprofit organization is subject to local, state, and federal law regarding insurance, liabilities, payroll and unemployment taxes, and much more.

It’s all about measuring success. Even though the definition of success is different, and the measurement tools may be different, the bottom line is that the same tools and practices that enable businesses to succeed also help nonprofits fulfill their missions. A successful nonprofit is run in much the same way a successful business is run. Perhaps awareness of this can help shift the perception and lead to a greater understanding of both endeavors.

 

From Charles County Economic Development Department

Of Charles County’s Major Employers, four of the Top Ten are nonprofits. Charles County Public Schools rank second on the list, with 3,631 employees. Our local hospital, University of MD Charles Regional Medical Center, employees 680, and La-Plata based College of Southern Maryland employs 550.  Nursing care provider, Sagepoint Senior Living Services, is also in the top ten. Our nonprofits are important to Charles County’s quality of life, not only because of the valuable programs they provide, but also because of their economic impact within our community.

Views from Charles

#MyCharlesCounty and other ways to make a difference

Published: Thursday, September 5, 2019

For those who work in economic development, pointing out a community’s assets is part of the job.  But sometimes, it’s what its citizens say that makes a difference.  This is a true story told by a local businessman who’s now in Southern Maryland but moved here from another state. 

“Charles County is a great central location for us to have access to all of our customers. We do business with NSWC Carderock, Naval Research Laboratory, NAWCAD Patuxent River, NSWC Dahlgren, and Indian Head Naval Support Facility, to name a few.”

Scott Decker
Director of Operations

Cardinal Scientific

“We are proud to be a key part of Charles County’s future and we heartily encourage other, cutting-edge companies to join us.”

Doug Egan
Chief Executive Officer
Competitive Power Ventures

“Charles County is where we started our company and where we grew and expanded. We now operate our managed print and managed IT solutions in five states and provide custom apps all around the globe. Our headquarters is still in Charles County, an excellent place to conduct business and recruit highly skilled individuals for our ever growing team!"

Joshua Justice
President

Just Tech

 

“We are proud to be a key part of Charles County’s future and we heartily encourage other, cutting-edge companies to join us.”

Katharine Tate
 Executive Director of Provider Engagement and Community Relations

Righttime Medical Care

“Charles County is a great place for businesses to start, grow, and thrive! We've worked with over 100 businesses since we opened our doors in Charles County, and I've witnessed the majority of these businesses achieve all three.”

Darlene M. Breck

Owner

Southern Maryland Business Center

“Charles County is a great place to do business because of the passion of the business community and the residents who strive to make it the best that it can be."

Andrew W. Welburn

President

The Welburn Organization