The business community is so often synonymous with capitalism – and all its baggage – that the nonprofit world tends to shy away from calling itself business.

Indeed, the notion of making a profit as a result of engaging in commerce is not typically the mission of nonprofit organizations (NPOs).  These entities are designed to achieve social mission or special purpose for the greater good, not for a positive bottom line distributed among shareholders or owners.  Their “capital structure” usually includes grants and donations provided by funders who support the social mission, funders whose return is the satisfaction of positive impact.  Businesses, on the other hand, rely on investors who expect financial returns.

Significant differences to be sure.  However, on an operational level, a nonprofit isn’t too far away from a small business.  Both engage in marketing.  Both require financial management.  Both comprise a human resource component, whether it be employed or volunteer.  Both have overhead.  Both provide services or products.  Both depend on sound leadership for success.  Both belong to the community.

It may not seem intuitive, but the Chamber of Commerce is a terrific resource for nonprofits and for-profits alike.  The professional development, marketing opportunities and curated experiences are applicable across corporate organization type.

In addition, the Chamber provides unique opportunities for nonprofits to connect.  Engaged business leaders make terrific board members.  Organizations seeking donations to silent auctions and ad books will find small businesses who treat those opportunities as important marketing tools.  Young professionals wanting to give back are asking the Chamber to help them connect to organizations in need.

Which brings us to GLIBQUAPS.

Last month, our Chamber Young Professionals held a unique event at Wild Onion Tied House in which fifteen nonprofits gave lightening-fast presentations on their respective organizations.  Each had 225 seconds and fifteen powerpoint slides to communicate their mission and needs.

Modeled after the international Pecha Kucha craze, our modified format was named “Giving Lots of Information By Quickly Using Auto-Advancing Powerpoint Slides.”  A crazy name, but a creative opportunity.  And a good example of how a business community association aligns with the nonprofit sector.

To see some of the GLIBQUAPS presentations, visit

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Cathy Yen

Cathy Yen is the Executive Director of the Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce.  She has lived in Oak Park for 21 years and done business locally, first as a retailer and then as a small business...