Many people at what the rest of world calls non-profit organizations like to think of their organization as “not for profit” instead. This is especially true of arts organizations. Non-profit implies not making a profit while the goal of a good not for profit is, in fact, to make a profit while still fulfilling the artistic mission outlined in the mission statement. The profit is then used to extended the life of the organization.

It is mostly a psychological/semantic difference, but still a critical one. I often remember being sharply rebuked by the artistic director of one theatre I worked at whenever I slipped into calling it a non-profit. “Never say that.” He’d say “We love profit, we just have greater obstacles when it comes to making one: we actually have to provide the community with something valuable.”

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