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Abstract

The nonprofit sector is viewed as one of value and voice for those in need, but the trend of commercialism is resulting in questioning such virtues for the sector and its role in civil society. For the most part, commercialization has a stigma attached to it in relationship with the nonprofit sector. Are the lines too blurred? Is the mission lost? What does this mean for maintaining civil society? These are all questions surrounding the practice of commercialism. This paper explores the growing utilization of commercial activity within the nonprofit sector and its potential effects, both beneficial and harmful. The first section introduces commercialization and takes a brief look at the concept itself through the current environment and practice. The section continues with an overview of contributing factors – specifically revenue sources and relationships driving the change in practice; benefits and risks; and a focus on the mission. The second section discusses future implications commercialization has on the nonprofit sector and on civil society, followed by concluding thoughts.



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