The paper contributes to debates on non-profit strategy, first by arguing that intellectual capital (IC) can be utilised as a non-profit strategic management conceptual framework and second by highlighting nuances in the meaning and significance of IC. In responding to the public management agendas of government, non-profit organisations (NPOs) have had to commercialise their strategies. On the basis of data from in-depth interviews with 35 senior non-profit managers across 22 large Australian social service non-profit organisations (SSNPOs), the analysis confirms that IC assists SSNPOs in managing the social–commercial divide, but that managers' understandings of the IC concept are often different to those contained in the IC literature. IC scholars suggest that IC is synergetic with its components being inter-dependent. The managers perceived that very few inter-relationships existed between IC components. Implications of the theory—practice divide for non-profit strategy are discussed. Research limitations and future research direction are presented in the paper.