Concepts in Non Profit Organizations

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After many years of management in the profit sector of business I set my sights on the not for profit arena. With all the determination, commitment and leadership that I thought I had acquired throughout the years I ventured forth with high levels of confidence that ended abruptly when I began this course. I was thrown off track and almost derailed by the possibility that managing a not for profit organization could be any different than managing a multimillion dollar retail establishment. As the reading and assignments continued I faltered and fell into a state of doubt regarding my ability to master the management of such a complex entity with aspects that were so foreign to the thought process that had been instilled into soul of my being. What if you couldn’t teach an old dog new tricks? How many of those old tricks would have to alter and change in order to be successful in my vision and future venture? It was all very overwhelming and extremely unsettling.

It was about the halfway point of the semester that I began to grasp the whole idea that the concepts of business whether profit or not for profit have many similar foundations in their principles but that a not for profit required the knowledge to address the unique aspects of its overall purpose. I then realized that by taking bits and pieces of my past managerial experiences and applying them together with the new knowledge I was absorbing about the distinctive differences that make a not for profit an exclusive entity in the business world, I would be embarking into a blissful blend that would lead me to the design and creation of the organization that I had envisioned for so long. As my journey begins I would like to share with you some of the characteristics that I have found to be similar in the domains of profit and not for profit organizations and some of the differences that are a requisite to the not for profit sector of business. Drawing from my past managerial practices in the for profit sector I will also attempt to define if there is any alteration in the leadership and management skills due to the influence of these characteristics.

Perhaps one of most reassuring characteristics that I found to be closely correlated were the dimensions of Organizational Design and Structure of for profit and not for profit sectors. Organizational designs in both not for profit and for profit have two components. Organizational structure which is “how departments and other functions are organized and who reports to whom” (Lewis and Packard ; 95) and organizational processes which are the “key activities that occur within the structure” (Lewis and Packard ; 95) such as the communication, control and decision making in each department. Both for profit and not for profit entities utilize these components together to carry out the goals, objectives and strategies for their organizations. A large retail company is divided into department that addresses such aspects of the business as finances, personnel, special promotions, and advertising and sales collection data. A not for profit must also divide its functions into departments that address finances, personnel, community marketing of services and goods and the information system to collect data for internal and external outcomes. Lewis states that the “effective coordination and sharing of resources among such outreach branches are important because duplication of effort is uneconomical…” (Lewis and Packard ; 101) in a not for profit, this duplication of effort is also uneconomical for profit businesses.

The process of organization design for both entities is similar in many respects. There must be a review of purpose and direction for the organization or business; each must evaluate the needs of the people and the opportunities that these needs present for them; both will set objectives, goals and strategies to reach these needs and opportunities. Next, they will find the best and most appropriate...
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