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The Sector's Economic Impact
Though many people are not aware of it, the nonprofit community is an enormous contributor to the American economy: It provides 5.5% of the nation's entire GDP[1] or $805 billion worth of output.[2] 
 
Employment
 
In 2010, nonprofits employed 13.7 million individuals, or approximately 10% of the country's workforce.[3] Between 2000 and 2010, nonprofit employment grew an estimated 18 percent, faster than the overall U.S. economy. In addition, according to 2010 national data from the Corporation for National and Community Service, 62.7 million volunteers in 2010 volunteer activity of 8.1 billion hours of service produced an estimated value of $173 billion.[4]

Employees of nonprofit organizations account for 9.2% of wages paid in the U.S. in 2010[5], and the nonprofit sector paid $587 billion in wages and benefits to its employees in 2010.[6]
 
Overall Giving
 
According to the 2012 Giving USA Annual Report, total charitable giving in 2011 is estimated at $298.42 billion (a 4% increase over the revised estimate of $286.91 billion in 2010).[7] In comparison, 2008 saw a decline of 5.5%, from 2007.[8] According to Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy Panel Study, 65.5% of households gave to charitable causes in 2006.[9] 

Below is the breakdown of recipient organizations of 2011 contributions from the 2012 Giving USA Report:[10] 
  • Religion – 32%
  • Education – 13%
  • Human services – 12%
  • Public-society benefit – 7%
  • Health – 8%
  • Arts, culture, and humanities – 4%
  • Environment and animals – 3%
  • International affairs – 8%
  • Gifts to foundations – 9%
  • Foundation Grants to Individuals – 1%
  • Unallocated – 3%
Foundation Giving
  • A recent study by The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported that most of the largest foundations are not increasing their grantmaking in 2012.[11]
  • The assets of the 10 richest foundations have dropped by more than $25 billion from 2007-2011 (after inflation).[12] 
  • Based on data from the Foundation Center’s 2012 “Foundation Giving Forecast Survey,” the nation’s 76,600 foundations, foundation giving was up 2.2% in 2011 totaling $46.9 billion.[13]
2011 Breakdown of Charitable Contributions by Source[14]
  • Individuals – 73% ($217.79 billion up 3.9% from 2010)
  • Foundations – 14% ($41.67 billion, up 1.8% from 2010)
  • Corporations –  5% ($14.55 billion, down 0.1% from 2010)
  • Bequests – 8% ($24.41 billion, up 12.2% from 2010)
Nonprofit Financials

In 2010, 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 $1.45 trillion. Total revenues were estimated at $1.51 trillion.[15]
 
Most nonprofits are small. In 2010, three quarters of charities had annual expenses of less than $500,000. Four percent of charitable organizations had annual expenses over $10 million.[16]

Assets, Expenses and Revenue

2010[17]
Number
Assets
Expenses
Revenue
Reporting Nonprofits
618,062
$4.49 trillion
$1.94 trillion
$2.06 trillion
Reporting Public Charities
366,086
$2.71 trillion
$1.45 trillion
$1.51 trillion

Sources of Revenue for Reporting Public Charities, 2010[18]
  • From Private Sources - 62.9%
  • From Government Sources - 32.2%
  • Other - 4.9%
Sources of Revenue for Reporting Public Charities, 2010 (Detailed)[19]
  • Fees for services and goods from private sources - 49.6%
    • Includes payments to organizations offering services, such as hospitals, health clinics, and child daycare centers.
  • Fees for services and goods from government sources - 23.9%
    • Includes grants and money appropriated by the government for services, such as Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Private contributions- 13.3%
    • Includes grants and donations from individuals, foundations, corporations, and bequests.
  • Government grants - 8.3%
    • Includes investment income
  • Other - 2.1%
For more information on the economic impact of nonprofits by state, please visit our state profiles portal.


Footnotes

1. New number released by the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) on March 18, 2011, verified by Thomas H. Pollak, Kennard Wing, and Katie L. Roeger.

2. Blackwood, Amy S., Katie l. Roeger, and Srah L. Pettijohn, The Nonprofit Sector in Brief: Public Charities, Giving, and Volunteering, 2012, Urban Institute, 2012: 1.

3. Roeger, Katie L., Amy S. Blackwood, and Sarah L. Pettijohn. The Nonprofit Almanac 2012. The Urban Institute: 2012, 35.

4. National Data from Corporation for National and Community Service. [View Source]

5. Quick Facts About Nonprofits,” National Center for Charitable Statistics, The Urban Institute. [View Source]

6. Roeger, Blackwood and Pettijohn, 9. 

7. Giving USA 2012: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2011. The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, Giving USA Foundation.

8. Ibid.

9. The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, Center on Philanthropy Panel Study, 5. [View Source]

10. Ibid.

11. Barton, Noelle and Maria Di Mento. “Big Grant Makers Don’t Expect to Increase Giving in 2012.” The Chronicle of Philanthropy. March 18, 2012. [View Source]

12. Ibid.

13. Lawrence, Steven. “Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates 2012 Edition.” The Foundation Center, 1.

14. Giving USA 2012: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2011. The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, Giving USA Foundation.

15. Blackwood, Roeger and Pettijohn, 2.

16. ibid, 3.

17. Ibid, 2.

18. Ibid, 3.

19. Ibid.


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