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I have a client that I’ve been helping to raise money from investors.  It is a for-profit corporation that is successful and profitable.  I am not exaggerating when I say that at least half of the people that I tell about this business assume it is a nonprofit.  The CEO of this company has told me that a lot of people she talks to assume her company is a nonprofit.  People don’t even ask if it is a for-profit or a nonprofit – they say, “oh, how can it raise money from investors given that it is a nonprofit?”

I have no idea why this is!  Here are some possible reasons:

  1. The CEO is an African American lesbian and when people picture a for-profit business owner they don’t picture someone that looks like her.
  2. The company is highly mission-driven and working in a space that many nonprofits work in as well.
  3. Because I am a woman, people assume that my clients must be nonprofits (because a lot of people associate women with nonprofits rather than for-profits).

Has anyone ever assumed your for-profit business was a nonprofit?  This has actually happened to many of my clients that are led by women.

I should mention that the people who assume these businesses are nonprofits are just as likely to be women as men.

What do you think this is about?!?!?

Please note that I don’t believe there is anything wrong with being a nonprofit and I have helped several nonprofits raise money from investors.