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Profit Organisation vs. Non-Profit Organisation — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on December 1, 2023
Profit Organisations primarily aim for financial gains, while Non-Profit Organisations pursue social, cultural, or educational missions without seeking profit.
Profit Organisation vs. Non-Profit Organisation — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Profit Organisation and Non-Profit Organisation


Key Differences

Profit Organisations and Non-Profit Organisations both serve vital roles in society, but they have distinct objectives. Profit Organisations operate to generate financial returns for their owners or shareholders. Every move they make often revolves around enhancing profitability. On the other hand, Non-Profit Organisations work with the primary goal of advancing a social cause or advocating for a shared point of view. While they may generate revenue, their main intent is not profit.
Profit Organisations and Non-Profit Organisations also differ in terms of distribution of profits. In Profit Organisations, the earnings are typically distributed among the owners or reinvested into the business. Non-Profit Organisations, meanwhile, reinvest any surplus funds into the organization's mission. They don't distribute profits to members or trustees.
The structure and management of Profit Organisations and Non-Profit Organisations are inherently different. Profit Organisations can range from single-owner businesses to multinational corporations. Their structure can be quite flexible. Non-Profit Organisations, on the other hand, often have a board of directors overseeing operations, ensuring the organization stays true to its mission.
In terms of taxation, Profit Organisations and Non-Profit Organisations are subjected to different rules. Profit Organisations pay taxes on their income after expenses. However, Non-Profit Organisations, if they meet certain criteria, can be exempt from paying federal income taxes.
Lastly, in the context of public perception, Profit Organisations and Non-Profit Organisations often carry different weights. While Profit Organisations are associated with commerce and industry, Non-Profit Organisations are often linked to philanthropy, volunteerism, and community service.

Comparison Chart

Primary Objective

Generate financial profit for owners/shareholders.
Pursue a social, cultural, or educational mission.

Distribution of Profits

Distributed to owners or reinvested.
Reinvested into the organization's mission.

Management Structure

Can range from single-owner to large corporations.
Often governed by a board of directors.


Pays taxes on income after expenses.
Often tax-exempt if meeting specific criteria.

Public Perception

Associated with commerce and industry.
Linked to philanthropy and community service.

Compare with Definitions

Profit Organisation

Profit Organisations focus on maximizing shareholder value.
The CEO of the Profit Organisation worked to increase stock prices.

Non-Profit Organisation

Non-Profit Organisations often rely on donations and grants.
The Non-Profit Organisation held a fundraiser to support its projects.

Profit Organisation

Profit Organisations often operate in competitive markets.
The Profit Organisation faced fierce competition but maintained its market share.

Non-Profit Organisation

They don't distribute profits but reinvest in their mission.
The Non-Profit Organisation used its funds to build schools.

Profit Organisation

These entities distribute earnings among owners or reinvest them.
The Profit Organisation declared a dividend this quarter.

Non-Profit Organisation

These entities champion causes ranging from education to environmental conservation.
The Non-Profit Organisation launched a campaign for clean oceans.

Profit Organisation

A Profit Organisation aims to generate monetary gains.
Apple Inc. is a Profit Organisation with global reach.

Non-Profit Organisation

They are usually exempt from certain taxes if criteria are met.
The Non-Profit Organisation received a tax exemption for its charitable work.

Profit Organisation

They cater to consumer demands to drive sales.
The Profit Organisation launched a new product line after market research.

Non-Profit Organisation

A Non-Profit Organisation works primarily for societal benefits.
The Red Cross is a Non-Profit Organisation aiding disaster-stricken areas.

Common Curiosities

How do Profit Organisations distribute their earnings?

Profit Organisations distribute earnings to owners/shareholders or reinvest in the business.

Can Profit Organisations be small?

Yes, Profit Organisations can range from single-owner businesses to multinational corporations.

What is the main aim of a Profit Organisation?

A Profit Organisation's main aim is to generate financial profit.

What happens to the profits of a Non-Profit Organisation?

Non-Profit Organisations reinvest any surplus funds into their mission.

Is the aim of Profit Organisations only about money?

While their primary aim is profit, they also serve customers, create jobs, and contribute to the economy.

Who manages Non-Profit Organisations?

Non-Profit Organisations are often managed by a board of directors.

How do Non-Profit Organisations measure success?

Non-Profit Organisations measure success by their impact, such as the number of lives improved or goals achieved.

Do Non-Profit Organisations have shareholders?

No, Non-Profit Organisations don't have shareholders and don't distribute profits to members.

How do Profit Organisations measure success?

Profit Organisations often measure success by financial metrics like revenue, profit, and shareholder value.

Do Non-Profit Organisations make any money?

Yes, Non-Profit Organisations can generate revenue, but their primary goal isn't profit-making.

Are Profit Organisations taxable?

Yes, Profit Organisations pay taxes on their income after deducting expenses.

Can Non-Profit Organisations be tax-exempt?

Yes, many Non-Profit Organisations can be exempt from federal income taxes if they meet certain criteria.

Can both Profit and Non-Profit Organisations collaborate?

Yes, many Profit Organisations partner with Non-Profit Organisations for philanthropic initiatives or corporate social responsibility projects.

Why would someone start a Non-Profit Organisation instead of a Profit Organisation?

Individuals may start a Non-Profit Organisation to address societal issues or causes they're passionate about without seeking financial gains.

Can one switch from being a Profit Organisation to a Non-Profit Organisation or vice versa?

It's possible but involves legal, structural, and operational changes.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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