nonprofit. not-for-profit

I asked Merriam-Webster the following question. Assistant Editor, Paul Wood, replied as follows.

Q: How does nonprofit differ from not-for-profit? Some people in this field insist on one term or the other, but according to Merriam-Webster's dictionary, there is no difference between the two.

A: Generally speaking, there is no difference between the meanings of nonprofit and not-for-profit as they are used by most English speakers. Some people do draw distinctions, such as (1) using nonprofit for organizations that do not see any profit from their operations and not-for-profit for organizations that may see profits but which are not run with profits as a motivating factor, or (2) using not-for-profit for charitable organizations, NGOs and so forth that are structured and managed like for-profit businesses (without the profits) and nonprofit for organizations like clubs and churches that are not. Again, however, there is no consensus on these distinctions. Most English speakers will use nonprofit and not-for-profit interchangeably.

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