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Non-profit organisation

Non-profit refers to an organisation that does not distribute any money or income it has (or receives) to its members. In this way it differs from a corporation, which distributes dividends or profits to its members (called shareholders). This key distinction means that the organisation works towards providing services without an underlying profit motive.

Non-profits are organisations whose primary objective is to support some issue or matter of private interest or public concern for non-commercial purposes.

Non-profits may be involved in a wide range of areas:

the arts
charities
education
politics
religion
research
or some other endeavour.

The Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Australia (the RSPCA Australia) is a non-profit organisation and even though it raises money through charity work and donation, and it pays salaries, it does not return the proceeds of its work to its membership like a private company would to its shareholders.