Though many people are not aware of it, the nonprofit community is an enormous contributor to the American economy: It provided 5.4% of the nation's entire GDP or $887.3 billion to the U.S. economy in 2012.
In 2012, nonprofits provided 11.4 million jobs, accounting for 10.3% of the country's private-sector workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Between 2000 and 2010, employment in the nonprofit sector grew and estimated 18%, a rate faster than the overall U.S. economy.
The nonprofit sector has continues to add jobs throughout the recession and into the recovery.
Employees of nonprofit organizations account for 9.2% of wages paid in the U.S. and the nonprofit sector paid $587 billion in wages and benefits to its employees in 2010.
In addition, according to 2013 national data from the Corporation for National and Community Service, 62.6 million Americans volunteered in 2013, about 2 million fewer than the number of volunteers in 2012. Volunteers in 2013 contributed 7.7 billion hours of service accounting for an estimated value of $173 billion.
According to the 2015 Giving USA Annual Report, Total Charitable Giving in 2014 is estimated at $358.38 billion (a 7.1% increase from 2013). In comparison, 2008 saw a decline of 5.5% from 2007. Charitable giving accounted for 2.1% of the gross domestic product in 2014.
There are more than 217,000 donor-advised accounts, which represent a 34% increase over the past seven years. In 2013, charitable assets from these fund accounts totaled $50 billion. Of total charitable giving, $17.28 billion of the contributions went to donor-advised fund accounts, which represents 5.2% of all charitable giving for 2013.
Below is the breakdown of recipient organizations of 2014 contributions from the 2015 Giving USA Report:
- Religion – 32%
- Education – 15%
- Human services – 12%
- Public-society benefit – 7%
- Health – 8%
- Arts, culture, and humanities – 5%
- Environment and animals – 3%
- International affairs – 4%
- Gifts to foundations – 12%
- Gifts to Individuals – 2%
2014 Breakdown of Charitable Contributions by Source
A recent study by The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported that manyof the largest foundations had assets reach their highest level since the recession.
In 2012, 86,192 active foundations in the U.S. had assets of $715 billion, according to Foundation Center.
Some of the nation’s largest foundations awarded almost 154,000 grants totaling $22.4 billion in 2012. The top four focus areas for these grants include:
- Health – 22%
- Education – 22%
- Human Services – 16%
- Public Affairs/Society Benefit – 12%
- Individuals – 72% at $258.51 billion (increased 5.7% from 2013)
- Foundations – 15% at $53.97 billion (increased 8.2% from 2013)
- Corporations – 5% at $17.77 billion (increased 13.7% from 2013)
- Bequests – 8% at $28.13 billion (increased 15.5% from 2013)
In 2012, according to the Urban Institute’s publication, The Nonprofit Sector in Brief
, the total expenses of all reporting public charities – public charities required to file Form 990s with the IRS – totaled nearly $1.65 trillion in revenues. Total assets were estimated at $2.99 trillion.
Most nonprofits are small
. In 2012, three-fourths of public charities had annual expenses of less than $500,000. Four percent of charitable organizations had annual expenses over $10 million.
Assets, Expenses and Revenue
Sources of Revenue for Reporting Public Charities, 2012
|Reporting Public Charities|
Sources of Revenue for Reporting Public Charities, 2010 (Detailed)
- From Private Sources - 62.9%
- From Government Sources - 32.3%
- Other - 4.8%
- Fees for services and goods from private sources - 50%
- Includes payments to organizations offering services, such as hospitals,, tuition payments, ticket sales, and child daycare centers.
- Fees for services and goods from government sources - 23.1%
- Includes grants and money appropriated by the government for services, such as Medicare and Medicaid.
- Private contributions- 12.9%
- Includes grants and donations from individuals, foundations, corporations, and bequests.
- Government grants - 9.2%
- Includes investment income - 3.6%
- Other income - 1.2%
For more information on the economic impact of nonprofits by state, please visit our state profiles portal
1. McKeever, Brice S., and Sarah L. Pettijohn, The Nonprofit Sector in Brief 2014: Public Charities, Giving, and Volunteering, October 2014, Urban Institute, 2014.
2. BLS Commissioner. Announcing New Research Data on Jobs and Pay in the Nonprofit Sector. Bureau of Labor Statistics, October 17, 2014. [View Source]
3. Roeger, Katie L., Amy S. Blackwood, and Sarah L. Pettijohn. The Nonprofit Almanac 2012. The Urban Institute: 2012.
4. National Data from Corporation for National and Community Service. [View Source]
5. Giving USA 2015: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2014. The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, Giving USA Foundation.
6. National Philanthropic Trust - Donor Advised Fund Market Report 2014. [View Source]
7. Donovan, Doug, and Sarah Frostenson. "Foundation Assets Reach Highest Level Since Downturn." The Chronicle of Philanthropy, March 23, 2014. [View Source]
8. Key Facts on U.S. Foundations. Foundation Center: 2014 edition. [View Source]
9. National Center for Charitable Statistics [View Source]