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Community Resources, Social Services & Nonprofit Sector (Vancouver)

This guide offers residents of Vancouver a community resource hub. How to get help and from whom, as well as how to start, run, and manage a nonprofit organization is included.

Nonprofit Sector

This section will help you find resources for nonprofit organizations and charities, covering how to start a nonprofit/charity, its management, fundraising, charity tax status and the NPO society act.

BC’s Nonprofit Sector (NPS) includes organizations that are:

  • non-governmental (i.e., institutionally separate from government);
  • non-profit distributing (i.e., do not return any profits generated to their owners or directors)
  • self-governing (i.e., are independent and able to regulate their own activities);
  • formally incorporated or registered under specific legislation with provincial, territorial, or federal governments.
  • voluntary (i.e., they benefit to some degree from voluntary contributions of time or money) 

Nonprofits can earn profits just like for-profit businesses, but they’re different because they don’t pay taxes and they invest profits back into their mission to enrich the community, society or world. For information on this sector, please consult VPL's research guide Looking For Work in the Nonprofit Sector. Beyond employment help it offers a good definition of what nonprofits are, related statistics, a look at the issues nonprofits currently face, and more. For more information on the industry, consult the Industry Overview: Non Profits published by the University of British Columbia.

There are several terms used to refer to non-profits, such as charities, not-for-profit and social enterprises. The difference between charity and nonprofit is challenging. The Canadian Revenue Agency outlines the differences clearly on their Registered Charities page.

All charities are nonprofit organizations but not all nonprofits are charities. For that reason, nonprofit will be used as the collective term in this guide.

Nonprofit Sector - Key Sources