10 Most Profitable Non-Profit Organizations

According to Khalil Gibran,

Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you can!

Many people perceive that non-profit organizations are not supposed to make profits. However, the truth is that non-profit organizations are very successful in generating revenues. They reinvest the surplus revenues in the purpose or mission instead of dividend declaration and profit distribution.

 Non-profit organizations, like for-profit organizations, also generate revenues and incur expenses. They hire the talent to run the organization, fulfill their purpose with revenues, and work pretty much like any normal business. It’s why the budget of successful non-profit organizations has financial budgets in billions of dollars.

In today’s article, we will talk about non-profit organizations, their sources of revenue, characteristics, and more. We will tell you about the 10 most profitable non-profit organizations in the US and worldwide.

What Is A Non-Profit Organization?

A non-profit organization, also known as a non-business entity or not-for-profit organization, is a legal entity established under the laws of any country where it operates. Non-profit organizations are not established with the primary objective of profit earning. However, they are established with a cause or purpose to which all revenues are contributed.

Non-profit organizations are also exempt from the tax net as per the rules of the IRS. Most trusts, advocacy, charities, environmental or religious groups, cooperatives, etc., are not-for-profit organizations. There are no owners or surplus profits of the non-profit organizations. The remaining amount after operating expenses is used to fund the organization’s goals.

Characteristics Of Non-Profit Organizations

A not-for-profit organization is defined based on certain characteristics or conditions. Here are characteristics of NPOs that distinguish them from for-profit companies:

  1. A specific charitable purpose is necessary for NPOs. For instance, religious advancement, education advancement, relief for the poor, etc.
  2. A not-for-profit organization can’t benefit the private interests of the creator’s family, shareholders, etc.
  3. An NPO should tread lightly in politics and no to influence legislation as part of its activities. The members of NPO or NPO should not become part of a political campaign in favor of or against certain candidates.

The Most Profitable Non-Profit Organizations

Now to the most profitable non-profit organizations around us in the US and other parts of the world. The organization listed here are not in order of which one is making the most money. But these are overall top 10 organizations that are most profitable.

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1.    Goodwill Industries

Goodwill Industries International is an NPO working in the field of education and training for the job seekers around. The organization is active in facilitating the unemployed with special conditions that can hinder obtaining a job, such as criminal backgrounds, age disabilities, etc.

Rev. Edgar J. Helms established the organization in 1902 to help the unprivileged get a job or source of earning for their households. He started the cause by repairing and selling pre-used household items the organization would collect from the upper class of society.

The mission the organization has been driving is strengthening communities through education and training. They promote self-sufficiency among the participants. Goodwill Industries is considered one of the most profitable non-profit organizations in the US and worldwide.

2.    Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities is also a US-based non-profit organization that was established in 1910 and became one of the biggest NPO around the world. The organization has its headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, and was established to help orphans of the Franciso earthquake.

Currently, the company is serving as a base for over 160 catholic charities that are active in helping people irrespective of social or economic background as well as religious background. The organization’s cause is providing relief and help to the unprivileged with food, healthcare, housing, HIV prevention, and disaster relief.

The NPO creates data-driven solutions to overcome the pressing challenges of the community. There are over 30 programs of the organization running in San Mateo, Marin, and San Francisco.

3.    YMCA

YMCA or Y is a worldwide youth organization established in Geneva, Switzerland. However, the organization has over 64 million beneficiaries in all parts of the world. YMCA stands for The Young Men’s Christian Association. The cause of the organization is to design programs that focus on improving childcare, sports, leadership, and health among the young generations.

The organization founded in 1844 had become an impactful NPO by the 20th century and is now considered among the richest and most profitable non-profit organizations worldwide. The mission of the organization is to build a human community of justice with love, peace, and reconciliation for the fullness of life for all creation.

4.    The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy is also a US-based organization established in 1954, leading the world with its ecological cause. The organization is active around the world in addressing conservation threats like climate change, freshwater, fire, invasive species, forests, and marine ecosystems. So far, the organization has saved over 119 million acres of land and 5000 miles of rivers worldwide.

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The company is active in all 50 states of the US and over 30 countries around the world. The major international contribution of the organization is habitat protection for different species from Australia to Alaska to Zambia. The science-based techniques and approaches used by the NPO are helping them to alleviate conservation challenges.

5.    The Red Cross

The Red Cross is an international non-profit organization that is working on the cause of helping people and the unprivileged that are affected by conflict and armed violence in different regions. The global humanitarian network comprises over 80 million people helping those in need. Clarissa Harlowe Barton founded the organization in 1881 and led it for 23 years.

The Red Cross organization has been working around the world in response to climatic disasters as well as war situations. Whether providing blood donations or donating food to the affected people, Red Cross is often very active in the cause.

6.    Smithsonian Institution

Smithsonian Institution is also a US-based not-for-profit organization that was established in 1846. It was given the status of a not-for-profit organization for tax purposes in the year 1924. The mission of the organization is museum conservation and heritage preservation. The organization is considered as world’s largest museum, education, and research complex.

The vision of the charitable institution is to shape the future of generations by the preservation of heritage, aligning it with new knowledge, and sharing resources. The organization is considered one of the most profitable in the world.

7.    Feed The World

Food is probably the biggest issue in the world, and it’s bigger than war or power. Feed The World is a non-profit organization that is working internationally to alleviate hunger. Their target is to provide children in need with clothing, food, and healthcare.

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According to the data shared by the organization, every one in four children suffers from chronic malnutrition around the world. In America, every one of six children is suffering from extreme hunger daily. Therefore, the organization is very active in facilitating the children by ensuring the provision of vitamin-rich meals to children on all continents.

8.    United Way Worldwide

United Way Worldwide is also a US-based not-for-profit organization with its headquarters in Virginia. The organization was established in 1887 in Colorado, United States. So far, the company has helped over 61 million in 1800 communities across 40 countries worldwide.

The cause of the NPO is improving people’s lives through education, income, and health. They strive to ensure that every individual in society gets equal opportunities for health, education, and financial stability.

9.    The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army was established in 1865 by citizens of the United Kingdom. Catherine Booth and William Booth was established as international charitable organization. There are over 26000 offices of the NPO in 132 countries working to provide relief to people in need.

The recent contribution of the company is extended to the southern United States and Puerto Rico as hurricanes like Irma, Maria, and Harvey. The organization’s main focus is to provide the affected people with food, shelter, water, and health facilities.

10. The Mayo Foundation

Mayo Foundation is also a US-based medical organization working as a not-for-profit company. The organization has the promising cause of raising funds for advanced medical research. The contributions of the Mayo Foundation are providing cures and treatment to thousands of Americans suffering from several health conditions. They have also worked on some vaccines that have helped countless individuals at risk of dangerous health conditions.


The not-for-profit organizations we have mentioned are considered profitable, and it’s just a myth that NPOs can’t be profitable or should not make a profit. A sustainasble NPO can never come into existence if the organization is not profitable or not generating revenues.