History of Non-profits

Historyof Non-profits

Historyof America’s Non-Profit Sectors

Thispaper seeks to provide an overview of the history of the non-profitsorganizations in the United States. The history of the non-profitsectors focuses on the voluntary traditions in the United States, thechanges in social needs generated from different historical movementsand the evolution of the tax structure throughout America’s history(Worth,2016).The paper will provide a summary of the article on the history ofnon-profits in America. Additionally, the paper will identify themajor concepts that would be applied in the history of non-profitsectors. Moreover, the paper will provide a discussion of theincorporation of the core course concepts to the history ofnon-profits organization and illustrate it with a real life scenario.

TheU.S non-profit organizations (NGOs) and its sectors are based onhistorical dimension. Most of the present NGO’s were establishedsince 1950 after the World War II and have been growing rapidly inthe past thirty years. They were established as charitable, religiousand educational organizations. An example of an NGO organizationdeveloped during historical period includes the Roman CatholicChurch. The characteristics of the early NGOs in early Americainclude offering philanthropy and volunteer services to the peoplesuch as money and time. Also, they are governed by the board ofdirectors who have a responsibility for managing the general welfareof nonprofit. The aim of establishing NGO’s is to enhance changesin the state and federal laws to address policies, regulations, andtaxes within the domain of the U.S government during that time. Theselaws shaped the social, political and economic structure of thepeople which resulted in conflicts. The conflicts resulted fromissues such as the nature of the government, individual freedom ofthe people and role of ethnicity, race, gender, and religion. TheSecond World War generated adverse consequences to the social,economic and political sectors in the U.S and thus major changes wererequired to be made to meet the needs of the people (Hall,2010).

Theestablishment of NGOs was instigated by historical forces, social,economic and political forces. The historical forces that contributedto the creation of NGO`s include the emergence of voluntaryassociations, increased distrust of the people to the government,changes in public policy, the need to embrace diversity within thepopulation and tax incentives. The social forces that facilitated thedevelopment of NGOs include the need to form group relationships inorder to promote socializations, generate social capital and toreinforce the values and norms in the society. The political forcesthat fostered the development of NGOs include the need to formulatepower relationships to promote accommodation of diversity, to providepeople with freedom from bureaucracy and to focus on addressingminority needs. The economic forces that led to the establishment ofNGOs include the failure of theories such as the market and thegovernment failures and the supply-side theories such as motivationand social entrepreneurship (Worth,2016).

Accordingto Lewis(2010), theNGO sectors during historical period performed charity servicesincluding giving to meet the social needs of the people and toprevent them from suffering such as feeding the homeless andproviding shelter. Additionally, they provided aids to the victims ofa natural disaster and helped them recover from the losses. The NGOsector also performed philanthropic services including providingfunds to facilitate the development of long-term investment in theinfrastructure and social amenities within the society such as theconstruction of hospitals. In addition, the NGO sectors establishedcharitable foundations to help those in need and providing Universityendowments. Lewis(2010)states that the rise of Industrial Revolution led to the rise ofgreat wealth that contributed to changes in social needs of thepeople. Industrialization resulted in the modern era therebyfacilitating change in the social needs of the people such as theneed for the development of social capital, the need to socialize, toaddress the increased rates of inequality in the society and toreinforce societal norms and values. Therefore, the NGO sector wasfocused on promoting the common good and improving the generalwelfare of the people in the society. The evolution of tax throughoutthe history of America began with the development of a Tax-ExemptSector. The Tax-Exempt Sector is an NGO sector that developed fromthe development of public charities that formed the foundations ofthe evolution of taxes. The NGOs prompted the government to increasesubsidies on items in order to allow them to effectively conducttheir mission activities and improve the welfare of the people. Theneed for increased subsidies and exemption from taxes from thingssuch as gifts facilitated the evolution of tax in the early Americanhistory (Hopkins,2011).

Accordingto Hall(2010),in the contemporary society, most NGOs sectors have undergone majorshifts from being voluntary organizations to being commercialentities, which are operated by management professionals. The shifthas caused the nonprofit sector to change from their initial focus onoffering voluntary services to commercialization. This shift hasraised a lot of controversies over commercialization. Some argue thatcommercialization of NGO sectors is advantageous because it helps tominimize the dependence of nonprofits on the government in order toprovide their charitable and philanthropic services to the people.This, therefore, enhances their independence. On the other hand, itis argued that commercialization of nonprofits would cause some ofthem to focus on attaining finances and forget their social missions.

Theintegration of the history of NGO sectors in sociology contributes tothe development of social capital, strengthening the norms and valuesof the people and enhancing socialization of individuals.Additionally, the NGOs sectors function as mediating structures thatenable people to act together with the government and the businesses.The integration of the history of NGO sectors in political sciencewould foster accommodation of diversity within the population,address the needs of the minority population, provide people with thefreedom from bureaucracy and conduct social experimentation toidentify the social needs and to determine the appropriate means ofsolving the existing social issues. The integrations of the historyof NGOs in economics would assist in filling gaps created by thefailures of the government and the market. Moreover, incorporationinto economic would facilitate the development of other nonprofitsdue to the activities facilitated by the supply side. For instance,it can lead to the rise of donors or supply entrepreneurs, who arefocused on fostering the development of a cause or addressing theproblem affecting the people especially the minority (Worth,2016).

Beingpart of a charity organization working in Kenya, I have noted thatmost NGOs provided their services to the poor living in Third WorldCountries. Most Third World nations such as Kenya have governmentsthat lack resources or the capability to meet the needs of the poorand also have inaccessible markets. The NGOs have played asignificant role in providing required resources to the poor anddevelopment of various infrastructures across the country. The NGOspresent in Kenya account to about 500 that provide charitableservices such as construction schools and hospitals and improvingmarkets to foster economic development. The estimated amount of moneythat NGOs channel towards improving the economy and meeting thesocial needs of the people is $35 million annually.


Hall,P. D. (2010). Historical perspectives on nonprofit organizations inthe United States. TheJossey-Bass handbook of nonprofit leadership and management,3-41.

Hopkins,B. R. (2011). Thelaw of tax-exempt organizations(Vol. 5). John Wiley &amp Sons.

Lewis,D. (2010). Nongovernmental organizations, definition and history. InInternationalEncyclopedia of Civil Society(pp. 1056-1062). Springer US.

Worth,M. J. (2016). Nonprofitmanagement: Principles and practice.Sage Publications.