The Difference Between Profit and Profitable

Profit isn’t a word that nonprofits feel comfortable with. It implies that they’re making money when they’re trying to make an impact instead.

But adding four letters to the dirty word nobody wants to talk about is vital for nonprofits, and completely changes the meaning—profitable.

Just because you’re a nonprofit doesn’t mean you can’t be profitable.

When a business is profitable it means that they’re making money. That’s not the only version of profitable, though. Profitable can also refer to something that is beneficial, worthwhile and productive—all things you should be striving for.

How can your organization embody the meaning of profitability?

1. Find Out What Profitable Looks Like (Then Measure)

What are you aiming to do with your organization? Having a solid mission statement will help you determine what type of impact you can measure. The easy answer would be fundraising dollars or units built of whatever your organization is about. Measure the impact and profitability that your organization is having to know if you’re truly making an impact.

2. Do Something That Matters Every Day

I challenge your organization to do something specific every day that matters. The catch is that it can’t just be that you’re making strides toward your mission (which you should be doing anyway). Instead, challenge yourself to reevaluate strategies. Make a small improvement to your volunteer program. Ask a volunteer for feedback, and then implement it. If you’re at a small nonprofit and wear a lot of different hats, make a small step to update a donor database by doing a little each day.

So, now’s the time to ask—is your nonprofit profitable? Will you own it?



Lyndsey Hrabik

Lyndsey is a former editor for Nonprofit Hub and Nonprofit Hub Magazine. She now serves as a guest contributor, writing on topics such as social media, technology, marketing and starting a nonprofit.

August 21, 2015

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