There are many misconceptions about what nonprofits are and what they do. These are a few myths I am asked about on a regular basis -
1. Nonprofits can't earn a profit.
This is not only incorrect, but in reality, a nonprofit should try to have some revenue activity to help ensure sustainability.
2. Nonprofits should have low "overhead" costs.
Overhead is often called operating expenses. While these costs need to be reasonable, they are essential to delivering services that meet the organizational mission.
3. Nonprofits don't have paid staff; only volunteers.
In 2013, it was reported that nonprofits employ over 14.4 million people. Many of these workers go above and beyond their job descriptions to serve others.
4. Grants provide the majority of a nonprofit's funding.
Foundation grants are only a small part of the overall budget of an organization. Fees for services and individual donations make up the majority of most funding.
5. Charitable giving only benefits the wealthy.
An individual taxpayer only receives a partial tax benefit for charitable donations, but the community served by the organization receives the full value of every dollar.
6. Nonprofits are large and have many support resources.
Most nonprofits are small in both budget and number of employees. Don't let the publicity of larger nonprofits, such as the Red Cross, confuse the reality of most community nonprofits.