Robert D. Herman

Nonprofit organizations are distinctive forms of organization, differing in fundamental ways from business and government. Like businesses, nonprofit organizations engage in voluntary exchanges to obtain revenues and other resources, and like governments, they often provide service with public goods characteristics. Unlike businesses, nonprofit charitable organizations have no conceptually clear maximization criterion. Unlike governments, they cannot levy taxes. Robert Payton (1988) described philanthropy as voluntary (private) action for the public purposes. Nonprofit organizations—particularly those classed as 501(c)(3) publicly supported charities under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code—are ...

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