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In every State these types of organizations are working to better their communities by directly addressing issues of public concern through service, independent action, or civic engagement.

These organizations span the political spectrum of ideas and encompass every aspect of human endeavor, from symphonies to little leagues, and from homeless shelters and day care centers to natural resource conservation advocates. These organizations are collectively called “nonprofits,” a name that is used to describe institutions and organizations that are neither government nor business. Other names often used include the not-for-profit sector, the third sector, the independent sector, the philanthropic sector, the voluntary sector, or the social sector. Outside the United States, these organizations often are called nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) or civil society organizations. [ Source - Career Guide to Industry ]

 
 

 

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These other names emphasize the characteristics that distinguish advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations from businesses and government. Unlike businesses, these organizations do not exist to make money for owners or investors, but that doesn't mean that they cannot charge fees or sell products that generate revenue, or that revenue must not exceed expenses. Instead, these groups are dedicated to a specific mission that enhances the social fabric of society. Unlike government, these organizations are not able to mandate changes through legislation or regulations enforceable by law. Instead, they work toward the mission of their organization by relying on a small group of paid staff and voluntary service and financial support by large numbers of their members or the public. This industry includes four main segments: business, professional, labor, political, and similar organizations; civic and social organizations; social advocacy organizations; and grantmaking and giving services.

Business, professional, labor, political, and similar organizations comprised about one-half of the advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations industry establishments in 2006 (table 1). Business associations are primarily engaged in promoting the business interests of their members. They include organizations such as chambers of commerce, real estate boards, and manufacturers’ and trade associations. They may conduct research on new products and services; develop market statistics; sponsor quality and certification standards; lobby public officials; or publish newsletters, books, or periodicals for distribution to their members. Professional organizations seek to advance the interests of their members and their profession as a whole. Examples of professional associations are health professional and bar associations. Labor organizations promote the interests of the labor union members they represent by negotiating improvement in wages, benefits, and working conditions. They persuade workers to become members of a union and then seek to win the right to represent them in collective bargaining with their employer. Political organizations promote the interests of national, State, or local political parties and their candidates for elected public positions. Included are political groups organized to raise funds for a political party or individual candidates, such as political action committees (PACs). A variety of other similar organizations also are included in this segment of the advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations industry. They include athletic associations that regulate or administer various sports leagues, conferences, or even entire sports at the amateur or professional level. Also included in this segment are condominium and homeowners’ associations, property owners’ associations, and tenant associations.

The Nonprofit Times Annual Salary Survey reported the following average total compensation in 2006:
Executive director $149,427
Chief financial officer 97,248
Chief of direct marketing 89,032
Program director 80,228
Development director 76,770
Planned giving officer & major gifts officer 73,325
Director of human resources 66,755
Web master 57,085
Director of volunteers 41,894

[ Excerpted from Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Career Guide to Industries, 2008-09 Edition, Advocacy, Grantmaking, Civic Organizations ]