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In search of the non-profit sector II: The problem of classification

  • Lester M. Salamon
  • Helmut K. Anheier
Articles

Abstract

Building on a previousVoluntas article (Salamon and Anheier, 1992b), which formulated a systematic approach to defining the non-profit sector for purposes of comparative research, this article takes on the complementary task of formulating a classification system that can be used to differentiate systematically the types of non-profit organisations that exist at the global level. To do so, the article first assesses a number of existing classification systems, such as the International Standard Industrial Classification and the National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities. Finding these systems inadequate, the article then introduces an alternative system, which we term the International Classification of Nonprofit Organizations (ICNPO). The ICNPO classifies non-profit establishments into 12 major groups based on their primary economic activity, and then further sub-divides these into 24 sub-groups. The result is a system that scores high in terms of five key evaluation criteria: economy, significance, rigour, organising power, and richness. What is more, initial tests of the ICNPO in a set of countries show that it performs well in coming to terms with the diverse types of non-profit institutions that exist around the world.

Keywords

Classification System International Classification Major Group Global Level Initial Test 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Charities Aid Foundation 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lester M. Salamon
  • Helmut K. Anheier

There are no affiliations available

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