Quick: What is a Nonprofit?


A House Rabbit Society tote I designed. HRS is a nonprofit rabbit rescue based in Richmond, CA.


It is very common to hear the terms “for profit” or “nonprofit” thrown around casually. You might hear it on a commercial break, on the news, by a politician, or even a college recruiter. While they seem easy enough to understand just by the name… what exactly is nonprofit?

Nonprofit organizations sometimes referred to as not-for-profit or charity organizations are founded on the idea of helping a cause for public or community benefit. They are 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations, which means they do not have to pay the typical income taxes that businesses have to pay. The idea behind the term nonprofit means that all of their funds get recycled back into the organization and no one employee makes an unbalanced amount of money. Nonprofits have a board of trustees that watch over and guarantee they are maintaining their vision and mission statement. Nonprofit organizations are often accredited to guarantee they are operating within the legal parameters set forth by the United States of America.

Often when we think of nonprofits we think of the big organizations we all know and have seen advertisements for — which are great! Bigger nonprofits often work globally to reach millions of people. They also have a wide variety of jobs staffed such as lawyers and lobbyists who work with smaller nonprofits to help execute government lobbying. Smaller nonprofits don’t always get the attention they might need for their grassroots initiatives. Often smaller nonprofits will work with their local communities to affect change at home — think of your local no-kill animal rescue.

Whether you support large or small nonprofit organizations, they can be a great way to get involved in giving back. You can donate, work, volunteer, and visit local nonprofits to help further causes you believe in. There are tons of ways to help your community and nonprofits are often a great place to start.


Have a fun idea that could help?

You might have a unique way you can help a local nonprofit!

While living in LA, I organized Bunny Drawing Nights at Bunny Luv Rabbit Resource Center.  We would open the doors to the rabbit shelter for all local artists to come and draw, raising money by charging a cover fee at the door. This would raise funds for bunnies in need and provide life drawing hours to artists interesting in getting some hands on lagamorph drawing experience. The bunnies also loved it, because they got tons of attention and ate a few sketchbook pages. See more across the web at #BunnyLuvArtNight.




Here are some awesome nonprofits that I follow and support:

Shark Stewards
Polar Bears International
House Rabbit Society
Bunny Luv Rabbit Resource Center
Colorado House Rabbit Society
Mission Blue
The Marine Mammal Center
Seafood Watch
Colorado Ocean Coalition
Distributing Dignity
Planned Parenthood
International OCD Foundation

Click on their tagged page to find out more, follow them, or support them in your own unique way. Feel free to share this blog post and add your own favorite nonprofits!

Futher Reading:

This post was done with information about American nonprofits. I did not research or do further reading on what it means to be a nonprofit in a different country.