Since 1997, the Urban Institute's Nonprofit Almanac has been collecting data from various government and nonprofit sources to provide "the most comprehensive statistical picture of the nonprofit sector available." The 2012 edition now provides information about how the nonprofit sector was affected by the Great Recession. In the foreword, Robert Reischauer, President Emeritus of the Institute, states that "while the data reveal that the ... sector continued to grow [during this period of slow economic growth], adding jobs while business and government shed them, growth has been uneven."
The Almanac also highlights trends between 2008-2010 that revealed a decline in individuals making contributions and bequests, as well as a decline in interest in dividend income. Data also showed an increasing gap between nonprofit income and expenditures, and found that the "growth of the sector is being financed largely by borrowing or drawing down of reserves, trends that are likely to weaken affected parts of the sector over the long haul."
These trends, as well as many others, are discussed in the book's five chapters: The Nonprofit Sector and Its Place in the National Economy, Wage and Employment Trends, Trends in Private Giving and Volunteering, Financial Trends, and The Size, Scope and Finances of Public Charities. Below I've selected some statistical items from each section to give you an idea of what's available. You may also want to view the graphical highlights of each chapter provided by the Urban Institute.
The Nonprofit Sector and Its Place in the National Economy
- There is about 1 nonprofit for every 175 Americans.
- In 2010, nonprofits contributed $804.8 billion to the gross domestic product (GDP); this equates to 5.5 percent of GDP.
- In 2010, the nonprofit sector employed 13.7 million people.
Wage and Employment Trends
- In 1998 nonprofit employees made up 8.8 percent of nonfarm workforce; in 2010 it was 10.6 percent.
- Health care and social assistance account for 56.1 percent of nonprofit wages.
- Utilities have the largest average annual compensation per employee, at $88,830; that subsector also accounts for the highest growth rate in wages and employment.
- Educational services has the highest annual growth rate of average annual compensation.
Trends in Private Giving and Volunteering
- Private giving reached an estimated $290.89 billion in 2010, but when looked at in constant dollars, actually dropped 11 percent from 2007 when private giving reached its historical peak at $310.57 billion.
- Foundation assets plummeted 17 percent from 2007 to 2008; in 2008, however, foundation giving reached an all-time high of $46.8 billion, largely fueled by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
- Volunteers spent 14.9 billion hours volunteering in 2010, largely for religious and educational institutions.
- Nonprofit revenue was $1.16 trillion in 2010.
- After the recession, asset income was the hardest hit revenue source, declining 13 percent in 2008, 5 percent in 2009, and over 7 percent in 2010.
- Nonprofits have had a surplus of funds two times in the past 10 years and have run deficits in eight years.
- More than half of consumption expenditures in 2010 were in health care; another 16 percent in education, and 10 percent in social services.
The Size, Scope and Finances of Public Charities
- In 2010, nearly 1.6 million nonprofits were registered with the IRS.
- Sixty-three percent of public charities were founded in the past 20 years.
- Human services nonprofits account for one-third of public charities; education accounts for one-fifth and is the second-largest subsector.
- California has the most public charities (42,479) while Wyoming has the fewest (1,077). However, less populated states like Wyoming have the highest nonprofit density per person.
For more statistical information on nonprofit organizations, search the Catalog of Nonprofit Literature using subject heading "nonprofit organizations--statistics". I also recommend you browse through GrantSpace's Knowledge Base Articles on statistics. For more big picture views of the nonprofit sector, check out America's Nonprofit Sector: A Primer, and The State of Nonprofit America. I discussed them both in a previous posting.
The Foundation Center--NY