A person who works in kitchens can be called a Chef, or Cook. Someone who designs websites can be called a Web Developer or Web Designer.

What would you call a person who runs a non-profit/community service organization?

My first thoughts were Philanthropist or Humanitarian, but those both seem a little large scale for my tastes and may come off as boastful. On the other end is Volunteer, but that doesn't seem to convey the fact that the person actually runs the organization.

The actual title is Executive Director but saying "David is an Executive Director" doesn't convey the non-profit nature of the organization

I'm looking for a single word that represents someone who is in charge of a simple non-profit/charitable organization that doesn't sound too "big."


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    I think you're stuck with "Executive Director of XXXX, a non-profit organization that provides XXXX to YYYY." Another term with currency is "NGO"; that is, a non-governmental organization, often used to describe international non-profits. Mar 6, 2017 at 16:40
  • If you have decided you must be provided with a one-word label, then Executive Director is already too long. While the organization is non-profit, the position is usually paid, so philanthropist or humanitarian is inaccurate, aside from lofty. Running a charity may not be not all that distinct from other firms, no disrespect intended. Mar 6, 2017 at 16:51
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    This was my father's occupation (in a few different organizations in both the Midwest and West Coast) for many decades. The only generic term I ever heard used was "director of a non-profit". If it's for a resume or bio or something and you don't want to get into titles, you could rephrase as "David runs a non-profit [agency/organization]" or "David runs [name of organization]".
    – 1006a
    Mar 6, 2017 at 17:04
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    What level is the organization? Does community leader fit?
    – jxh
    Mar 6, 2017 at 18:54
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    Non-profit is a tax status. Even if you use a term that reflects some altruistic aspect of the organization, there isn't a special title or designation for, or that modifies, the name of the function of running it. The terms would be the same as if it was any other organization.
    – fixer1234
    Mar 6, 2017 at 20:01

5 Answers 5


The question conflates occupations, sectors, and titles. An expeditor works in a kitchen but is neither a chef nor a cook. An office manager who works for a restaurant is as much an office manager as one who works for a law firm. And the person who designed their website is on some level a web designer, but might be an "intern" or "Senior Director, Digital Marketing" on the résumé.

It is relatively rare that a title implies an industry, except in specialized roles in realms like the government, military, or religion—if you are an archbishop, most people won't ask whether you are archbishopping for an accounting firm or for the electrical utility.

A chief executive is a chief executive. It doesn't matter whether she works for the local food bank, the municipality, or a regional chain of veterinary clinics, and it doesn't matter whether her title is General Secretary or County Manager or President and CEO. If you want to say she is director of a non-profit, you have to say she is director of a non-profit. There are no shortcuts.


"Socialpreneur" could be one word you are looking for. Wiktionary says that a "socialpreneur" is "an entrepreneur who aims to help society."

  • 2
    Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Feb 21, 2023 at 16:39
  • 1
    I have edited it and added your citation for you. If you found a different, better definition, please add it and remove mine. Answers are always better when you cite your sources and add definitions, so please be sure to do so in the future :) Feb 21, 2023 at 17:13

In the US, a non-profit will need to be some type of corporate entity (LLC, S-Corp or C-Corp). That entity will need by-laws or a charter which defines certain things, including titles and roles. Commonly used titles for the leader are President, Chair, or Chief Executive Officer (CEO), and an organization can have multiple people with these titles (such as a President and, separately, a CEO).

One useful discussion can be found on this law blog.


Fake word alert:


(a combo of nonprofit - an organization whose most important goal is something that does not involve making a profit and head - director, leader)

So literally the director or leader of an organization whose most important goal is something that does not involve making a profit - a nonprofit-head.

It's also a homophone for nonprofited which I think is appropriate. and funny.

"David isn't making any money, he's a nonprofit-head."


"Founder" If you create it and run it then you are "The Founder" Simples!

  • 3
    The question doesn't specify that the person created the organization. Also, a founder isn't necessarily the person running the organization right now. Jun 8, 2021 at 8:38

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