From the CEO: Why nonprofits need to make money

AME | June 6, 2023

I read an incredible article this week in which Gary Hoover, the executive director at the American Business History Center, debunks ten myths surrounding negative perceptions surrounding “profit” in businesses.

Thank you to AME St. Louis Consortium facilitator Jonathan Jones for sharing this one! The article, originally published in a series by The Archbridge Institute, is insightful and made for an excellent read, and I knew as I read that I wanted to discuss it with you this week. Especially thought-provoking was myth #3, the belief that “nonprofits do not make or need profits.”

We often believe the altruistic nature of a nonprofit’s mission negates the need to earn cash (simply look at the semantic makeup of the name “non” + “profit”). This isn’t true. How are we, as a nonprofit, able to serve our membership, better our industries and give back to our communities if we don’t have proper financial backing?

I prefer to focus on everything we can achieve and all the good we can impart with the support of profit, specifically educational resources and opportunities.

Our annual conference is an important example of this. We’re only months away from gathering at AME Cleveland 2023 to explore new facets of leadership, unlock innovative ways we can embed people-centric values in our workforce culture and implement continuous improvement methods in our day-to-day operations. With incredible keynotes, tours and a host of lean-driven workshops and practitioner sessions spanning four days, this international conference embodies AME’s mission to share, learn and grow from the wealth of knowledge our community holds. None of which would be possible if the event was not a financial success.

I thought Hoover phrased it so poignantly when he wrote, “Profits are indeed the lifeblood of a company, the ‘engine’ that powers innovation and future success…but profits are not the purpose of a company, the reason it exists.” AME’s purpose is to share, learn and grow.

We further this mission every day because our membership values its impact. And our membership’s dedication is reflected in its generosity. Every time you attend an AME event, be it a virtual seminar, a three-day summit or the annual conference, you are investing time and, yes, money in AME’s capacity to give back—and to help our industries better their communities and society at large.

Thank you all for your continued support. I look forward to a summer full of engagement and exploration.

As always, please stay safe and keep looking out for one another.