Back home in India, after year-10, we get to choose subjects for higher studies. There were four main streams (Medical, Non-Medical, Commerce and Arts). We had a very straightforward and silly process. The bright students (who can easily memorise word by word) generally opt for Medical, followed by Non-Medical, Commerce and Arts.
I chose the Non-Medical stream. I was not too fond of the word Non-Medical, however. Why do we call something which it is not and put ‘non’ in front of it? Why can’t we say what it is?
Non-Medical still sounds like ‘stuff which is not part of medical’.
I get over this strange concept, and these negative words keep gaining my attention. Non-Alcoholic, Non-Veg, to name a few.
Now, this is why I dislike Non for Profit word!
Why call an organisation Non for Profit?
Okay, I get that profit is not a motive or driver of the organisation. So then, what is the key driver?
Is it value, service, upliftment, protection, or sustainability?
The organisation can be ‘For Value’ or ‘For Service’.
You may be thinking, SP, why are you so fussed about the name?
Let me ask you a few questions:
- Are we interpreting Non-for-Profit organisations as – profit is not the primary objective, hence, is it acceptable to be inefficient?
- Why are NFPs lagging in the use of technology?
- Why NFPs have poor business processes?
- Why NFPs struggle with high staff turnover?
Does the word Non for Profit give us subtle permission to settle on less?
The point is not to start a debate on the name. Instead, to state that NFPs are not less or more than For-Profit organisations. NFPs must have obligations to improve productivity, efficiency and deliver more value to the stakeholders.
The question is, what is your plan to make it happen?
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