Managing Non Profit Organisations

7701 Words Jul 22nd, 2013 31 Pages
Managing non-profit organisations: Towards a new approach

Civil Society Working Paper 1

Helmut K. Anheier

January 2000

This paper puts forth the thesis that the management of non-profit organisations is often ill understood because we proceed from the wrong assumptions about how these organisations operate. Based on this premise, this paper develops a model of the non-profit form as a conglomerate of multiple organisations with multiple bottom lines that demand a variety of different management approaches and styles: a holistic conception that emphasises the diversity of orientations within and outside the organisation; a normative dimension that includes not only economic aspects but also the importance of values
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Trying to answer this seemingly simple question leads to other, equally challenging ones: is nonprofit management a variation of business management? Is it closer to public management and administration? Or do we in fact find that the management of non-profit organisation is distinct from both, requiring models that fit neither the corporation nor the public agency?

Of course, these questions assume some agreement of what non-profit organisations are, and how to define them. Like all organisations, non-profit organisations vary much in terms of mission, size, mode of operation and impact, particularly in a cross-national sense. Some are closer to the model of a government agency; others may indeed resemble the business firm; and yet others may be little more than an informal network. These variations notwithstanding, however, there is an emerging consensus among researchers in the field that non-profit organisations have the following core characteristics (Salamon and Anheier, 1997):


Helmut K. Anheier

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Organised, i.e. possessing some institutional reality, which separates the organisation from informal entities such as families, gatherings or movements; Private, i.e., institutionally separate from government, which sets the entity apart from the public sector; Non-profit-distributing, i.e., not returning any profits generated to owners or equivalents, which distinguishes non-profits from businesses; Self-governing, i.e., equipped to
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