7 Nonprofit Terms we Need to Change [Part 2]

By Moshe Hecht

Part 1 can be found here.

4. Nonprofit vs. For Purpose

A novel concept with regards to the use of the term “Nonprofit,” as originated by Adam Braun of Pencils of Promise, needs to be taken more seriously. As he explains, there are many issues with claiming “nonprofit” as our definitive nomenclature. Using the term “Nonprofit” invites complacency. One, it is not true – We need to make a return to cover costs. Most people don’t immediately decipher “revenue” and “profit.” Two, and even more important, it suggests we shouldn’t adopt business practices to become more effective. And finally, a NPO stands for something greater than just “Nonprofit.” It’s for purpose. And we must embrace this mindset to truly actualize our vision and impact.

Let’s be for something that matters. Let’s be for changing the world. Because that’s who we are.

5. Overhead vs. Investment

In his TedTalk, “The way we think about charity is dead wrong,” Dan Pallotta shares how our belief system hinders charities from solving the massive issues plaguing our world. This belief system encourages for-profit companies to make as much money as possible, while stigmatizing any NPO that tries to make enough to pay its staff, launch marketing campaigns, or implement innovative fundraising solutions to actually become more effective in the long run.

It also puts extreme pressure on NPO’s as even a small financial failure will call your character into question, whereas we have absolutely no problem spending millions on another 50 shades film.

Are we than surprised that the young and brightest minds of our generation are not attracted to a nonprofit position?

By deeming “overhead” as inconsequential, we are killing the ability for these organizations to be daring in their methods of solving current global issues.

To tangibly address today’s issues, we need to start investing in workers and reward them accordingly. And we really need to invest in innovation. Only when we stop looking at overhead as “overhead” but see it as an opportunity to grow will we finally succeed.

During the recent Nonprofit Pro Conference, I watched Pallotta headline the event with his extended ted Talk presentation. When the slide came up comparing the drastic difference of NPO and for-profit salaries, half the room grabbed their phones and took pictures to undoubtedly send to the chairman of the board. 🙂

What’s your investment ratio?

6. Cultivation vs. Teleportation

Yes, you read that correctly.

When we talk about raising donors, we always speak about cultivating support. Its an organic, growing process, blossoming into a beautiful relationship which will hopefully last for years. Sounds amazing, right? Who wouldn’t want that?! Today, there are entire workshops and exposes devoted entirely to cultivation.

So what’s the problem?

Inspiring support is not just about meeting your new best friend.

What we need to start doing is to take people out of their own personal trials and bring them to a place and cause that will give them purpose. It’s not about bringing them close to you as a friend, but rather, it’s about bringing them close to the cause. You are in a sense teleporting them out of their own “space” and making them care about their community and the greater world.

Cultivation can take years of birthdays, lunches, and golf lessons. And we need to expedite that process. And be more efficient with our time.


Begin by exploring innovative avenues to teleport them from their world to the world of your cause. One obvious example is using something as simple as VR goggles to give them a virtual tour of your school in Guatemala the next time you stop by for a visit. Invite them to enter this other world with people who need their help, without the additional cost of transportation and accommodation.

Make it real for them.

Of course, the need to foster healthy relationships is not obsolete. Yet, we should add this twist in our approach of teleporting people from their day-to-day worries of bills, kids, or what to make for dinner, and bring them to a more expanded reality and vision.

7. Crowdfunding vs. Fundraising

The problem with the term “crowdfunding,” as I’ve spoken about many times, is that it’s often perceived by nonprofit leaders as an entirely distinct entity separate from fundraising. So many of us see crowdfunding as a side project, instead of using it for capital campaigns, annual campaigns, mega fundraisers, or as a substitute for more costly gala events. To yield the greatest results, crowdfunding has to be integrated into your full fundraising strategy.

So let’s invite crowdfunding to join the fundraising family! When done correctly, it can be used to fulfill significant percentages of annual fundraising and public stages of capital campaigns.

Moshe Hecht is chief innovation officer at Charidy. An entrepreneur whose passion lies at the intersection of technology and charitable giving, Moshe personifies the company’s “why” and is a driving force in its vision and success. @moshehecht @wearecharidy