Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Why Should Non-Profits Get a Break?

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, September 22 2010

Designer, thinker, and 37Signals proprietor Jason Fried asks the tough question: what is it about the "non-profit" business model that entitles those organizations to discounts on the web-based software products his company makes? Here's Jason:

Why should a non-profit organization pay less for software (or supplies or food or rent or…) than a for-profit company? How is an automatic discount for a non-profit fair to a full-price paying for-profit? They both have employees, budgets, goals, financial pressures, etc. If you don't look at the tax code or the sign on the door, they are the same.

You might ask the same question about non-profit breaks on conference tickets, magazine subscriptions, and much more. Jason's thinking here seems rooted in the assumption that businesses can do "good" just as well as self-proclaimed do-good organizations can do it, and that understanding might sound striking to certain ears, and perhaps those of us of certain generations. But it seems of a piece with the idea that the nature of work is changing faster than our old categories for what it is we're all doing to make a buck (even if we re-invest that buck into our organizations). I'd be curious about the degree to which Jason's thinking is shared by other developers, freelancers, and start-up organizations of all stripes.

We're a world, now, where Google's both an advertising-funded corporate behemoth and an ideas-driven "think/do" tank, and that all seems relatively normal. But it seems like the questions of "who's doing what and what does it all mean" are only going to grow more common.

News Briefs

RSS Feed friday >

NYC Politicians and Advocacy Groups Say Airbnb Misrepresents Sharing Economy

A coalition of New York election officials and affordable housing groups have launched an advocacy effort targeting Airbnb called "Share Better" that includes an ad campaign, a web platform, and social media outreach. GO

First POST: Data Dumps

The Internet Slowdown's impact on the FCC; Uber drivers try to go on strike; four kinds of civic tech; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Positive Sums

How Teachout won some wealthy districts while Cuomo won some poor ones; DailyKos's explosive traffic growth; using Facebook for voter targeting; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Emergence

Evaluating the Teachout-Wu challenge; net neutrality defenders invoke an "internet slowdown"; NYC's first CTO; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

De Blasio Names Minerva Tantoco First New York City CTO

Mayor Bill de Blasio named Minerva Tantoco as first New York City CTO Tuesday night in an announcement that was greeted with applause and cheers at the September meeting of the New York Tech Meet-Up. In his remarks, De Blasio said her task would be to develop a coordinated strategy for technology and innovation as it affects the city as a whole and the role of technology in all aspects of civic life from the economy and schools to civic participation, leading to a "redemocratization of society." He called Tantoco the perfect fit for the position as a somebody who is "great with technology, has a lot of experience, abiltiy and energy and ability to create from scratch and is a true New Yorker." GO

First POST: Fusion Politics

The Teachout-Wu Cuomo-Hochul race as it comes to a close; more criticism for Reddit as it prepares a major new round of funding; First Lady Michelle Obama as an Upworthy curator; and much, much more. GO

More