Amazon founder Jeff Bezos recently turned to Twitter to solicit input as to how best to direct his philanthropic giving.

I’m thinking about a philanthropy strategy that is the opposite of how I mostly spend my time — working for the long term. For philanthropy, I find I’m drawn to the other end of the spectrum: the right now.”

Put another way, business is one thing, and philanthropy (and, by extension, the nonprofits it supports) is another. It implies that business and social causes should operate according to different philosophical and practical approaches.

This is a false dichotomy, one I’ve seen countless times in the nonprofit world, and one that I think is ultimately counter-productive to the social-good objectives that well-intentioned business people aim to achieve with their philanthropy, volunteerism, and board service.

Yes, businesses are driven by financial bottom lines, and nonprofits are driven primarily by mission bottom lines. While there are clear differences, they are both bottom lines. And I would argue that all nonprofits must also have — and manage to — financial bottom lines (more about that below) and that all businesses should have mission bottom lines.

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