The article deals with social workers conditions in non profit organizations, and with value extraction mechanisms occurring in this sector. Particular attention will be paid to the strategies allowing organizations to respond to market uncertainty by making work less paid and more flexible. In such strategies, the positive rhetoric built around the non profit sector plays a pivotal role, together with intagible rewards that seem to influence workers satisfaction and to restrain or avoid conflicts The analysis contribute to the general debate about work in the foundational economy by highlighting some critical points. First, the presence of profits is not necessary for value exctraction dynamics to occur. Second, the positioning within the foundational economy can boost value extraction instead of hampering it. The social value of the services offered, indeed, can act as a legitimating factor of workers exploitation, since the society as a whole can benefit from it.
Keywords: Non profit, social work, social workers, value extraction, third sector, foundational economy