Non-profits are organizations or groups of people who are committed to helping people who are in need. Most of the times these groups get money from well-wishers or hold fundraisings to acquire enough money to help out in a societal problem. When there are cases of floods, hurricanes, drought and famines or earthquakes, this non-profits step in and help out the government to the best of their ability. Helping out in a non-profit requires commitments and dedication because most people who work with this groups do volunteer work and are not looking forward to any form of payment (Halfpenny, Reid, 2002).
Over the years these groups have expressed humanity in its purest form because they do not discriminate against race, gender or nationalities, they are committed to helping everyone who is in need. Many people have associated philanthropic people with most non-profits because they are driven by both compassion and also a passion for helping the people who are in need. The following essay, therefore, seeks to explain and discuss the history of non-profits and the impact they have made over the years and also the various types of non-profits that have made a significant impact since they were founded.
History of Non-profits
Non-profit organizations began in the 18th century having been founded and funded mainly by churches. The religious leaders believed in the art of giving as per their beliefs and as a result, they took it upon themselves to help out those in need wherever they could. Other religious organizations also got behind this cause as they all believed in the spirit of helping out those who were in need. They initially began by providing educational facilities to help out kids who wanted to learn but were not financially capable of financing their education. The religious groups thus stepped in and helped out the needy children get a decent education (Barman, 2013).
Initially, the government was not involved in the business of the non-profit organizations, and they operated on their terms without being monitored or directed by the government. However, beginning in the 20th century, the government and also the federal states became involved in the running of the non-profits.
The government did this by introducing some laws and regulations on how the organizations were being run and provided a sense of law to the groups. This in return resulted in the first federal law regarding non-profits in the year 1894, when they introduced a bill that exempted the groups from tax. This law later came to be referred to as the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act.
In addition to the churches and other religious institutions as being the founders of the non-profits, rich people also involved themselves with the work of giving back to the community. A good example was Andrew Carnegie, who felt that it was the responsibility of those who were wealthy to try their best and help the people who were struggling with things. Andrews conviction did not come just from anywhere, he had grown up in a low-income family and had to work to sustain himself and help out his family at a very young age.
In return, he felt compelled to help out the people who were less fortunate as he could relate to their struggles. His was self-driven with no one forcing him to give back as he had the spirit of philanthropy in him and this made him work even harder to help out needy people. He went on to start his foundations and organizations and also contributed so much of his wealth towards helping other non-profit organizations continue to support the needy where they could.
Unlike most rich people who get rich and forget the problems of the world, Carnegie never forgot where he came from and always empathized with the people in those hardship conditions. As years went by, more affluent people got involved with the non-profit organizations, and they began giving back and helping those people who were in need.
Fundraisers were held among the elite, and the money they gathered was given to various non-profits to help better and further their outreach programs. As a result of this, many people got to get a good education, better living conditions, and even food which went a long way in sustaining their livelihoods.
As time went by people begun to realize the impact that the non-profits were making in people's lives and they became more involved. Non-profits were not only dominated by the rich or religious people, but instead young and old people became involved, poor and rich people participated, and it became all about people with a philanthropic and charitable heart helping the needy people in the society. Some of these non-profits went further to reach across borders and impact people from different races, beliefs, and traditions (Lewis, 2004).
Consequently, as the non-profit world begun to widen and people from all walks of life became involved, there started the formation of various non-profit organizations that were now more specific to a cause. For example, some non-profits focused women, children, education, hunger, and others natural disasters. As a result, came the formation of the oldest non-profit organization which is still in existence up to this date called the YMCA.
The YMCA was founded in the mid-18th century in response to various social conditions that were coming up from important towns and made its impact by helping both young girls and boys. The group which was initially backed by evangelists as the name suggests was initially focused on improving young men in the church. However, the group opened its doors to women and children and also people from all races and religions (Somerville, Brown, Morris, Scullion, 2011).
Within a matter of time, the group began spreading its reach across the world, and many branches were formed in different countries and cities. In America, the group became very recognized that they started getting funds from well renown people and also the government began to realize the impact that the organization was making and also contributed and facilitated most of their fundraisings.
Around the 1940s, when the second world war was happening, with Americans realizing the impact that non-profits had made and also realizing the importance of helping out in times of need, they came together to raise funds to help their people who were in need at this time. They realized that there were resources that needed to be conserved as they could not predict how long the war would take.
As a result, they began to conserve their resources to send supplies to the troops who were fighting overseas and also in return developed some refugee camps that would help the people who were displaced in the process to find a temporary home. In this refugee camps, people from different nationalities were welcome and were provided for with various supplies, like food, shelter, and clothing (Lovejoy, Saxton, 2012).
Most of the supplies being used at these camps were bought on money that had been raised through fundraising. In return, so many people's lives especially women and young children were saved as they were the most vulnerable in those times. Following the willingness of people to contribute to healing during the second world war, some organizations also stepped in to help with the fundraising. Groups such as the YMCA, the Jewish Welfare Board and also the Salvation came together during this time to raise funds.
As a result of this merger, came the formation of the United Service Organization for National Defense, which was commonly referred to as USO. The new group combined the efforts of the three groups in raising funds, and the merge proved to be more effective than individual group contributions, as many people supported the unity; therefore more funds were built as a result (Morris, 2000).
The American red cross which was founded in the late 18th century by Clara Barton was also very helpful in raising millions of funds to help during the second world war. As a result of their tireless efforts, they became the first group to start a war-related blood donation program. This was after they were able to recruit over one hundred thousand nurses who helped and facilitated the process of giving and receiving blood from people.
Most of the people who were in need if the blood were the men who were part of the troops that had gone to fight and had incurred severe blood loss. As a result of the efforts of the red cross to collect blood from willing donors, the soldiers who had lost so much blood were given some blood which went a long way in assisting with their recovery. Up to date the Red Cross team has dedicated itself towards blood donation and collecting of blood from all parts of the world.
In addition to the USO, there was the formation of the United Nations which was a peace initiative following the horrific events of the second world war. The United Nations became more of a non-profit organization as it focused most of its resources toward ensuring that people did not go hungry, were provided with shelter and also clothes. The group went around the world to form some of the most sustainable refugee camps, where they supplied them with most of the basic requirements (Young, 1968).
The group did not stop just at providing food and shelter; they started initiatives such as ensuring that people were in access to clean water and also education. In as much as the group was started to bring peace among countries, they also majored in doing major charity work, and their efforts have been recognized up to date all around the world, as they continue to serve the people. They were also able to recruit hundreds of thousands of volunteers who have been deployed across the whole world.
Furthermore, after this period, more people began to get involved in non-profit, and there were many volunteers who beloved in this cause. Also, as a result of the success of the USO, many people and groups in non-profits begun seeing the importance of merging to support a common cause like helping children or facilitating education and as a result, many funds were raised, and more people continued to benefit from these non-profits.
From 1965 onwards, there was a massive paradigm shift, and people became more aware of the importance of helping out the needy and also coming together to form groups that narrowed down their focus to help out something in the society. In return, the government also became more involved in this welfare programs, and they became more supportive (MacIndoe, Whalen, 2013).
Following this support came the rise of the Tax Reform Act that brought about Section 501 (c, 3) that was in the Internal Revenue Service code which stated that, 'every charity in the U.S was abiding by some set requirements was regarded to as a private foundation. This meant that the funds of this non-profits were managed by their directors (Lee, 2011).
When more foundations found out about the act, there was a surge in the registration of more non-profit organizations. Especially with the formation of the formal non-profit sector, many charitable people and organizations became more motivated to continue with the work they were doing and even expand further and involve more people. However, with the formation of this sector came the developments of more policies, rules, and regulations regarding non-profits.
Around 1976 the Congress passed a bill which was in support of coalition between charities that allowed the groups to spend almost one million dollars in one year. This, in turn, gave the non-profits a recognizable voice in the government. By 1980 the non-profit sector began influencing even the business world, and it came to be referred to as the third sector due to the influence it had and the mark it left.
The non-profit sector was tasked with crucial functions and the fulfillment of various roles in th...
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