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The multiplication of not-for-profits

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It's the sixth largest economy in the world, a US$1.3 trillion industry employing 39.5 million people across the world (Salamon et al. 2003), and it's called the not-for-profit sector.

Dubbed also the ‘third sector’, ‘social economy’ or ‘voluntary sector’, it includes tax-exempt charities, social enterprises and NGOs along with church and voluntary organisations. It is a vast and varied group sharing the aim of putting human values rather than big profits at the heart of its action, using grants and donations, fundamentally, to fuel its projects. And should any money be made, it gets reinvested into the project rather than distributed. So how did the non-profit sector, once regarded as ‘worthy but economically marginal’ (Palmer 1999) become such big business?

Keywords: multiplication; not-for-profit

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 10, 2006

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