Health of the U.S. Nonprofit Sector

Overview

The U.S. nonprofit sector is the underpinning of our society. In 2021, we have seen this continue in extraordinary and extraordinarily painful ways. Nonprofits provide a significant portion of the nation’s health care, higher education, human services, arts and culture, conservation, and other vital services. Nonprofits also have been the primary catalyst for major social change over the past 150 years. At a time when the sector is both more critical and more vulnerable than in recent memory, it is essential that communities and their leaders understand the current health of the nonprofit sector.

The Independent Sector Health of the U.S. Nonprofit Sector: Quarterly Review report is new for 2021, and focuses on nonprofit employment and economic contributions to the nation. It follows publication of our first Independent Sector Health of the U.S. Nonprofit Sector: Annual Report, which was released in 2020. The annual report is a more comprehensive resource that conveys important information on the current health of the U.S. nonprofit sector across multiple dimensions and in a single, accessible format. Most information on the health and well-being of nonprofits is found across multiple, single-issue reports, which makes it difficult to get a complete picture of overall sector health. This annual review makes a broad set of measures easily accessible and presented side-by-side, so stakeholders and key decisionmakers can quickly see the most accurate snapshot of the state of civil society.

The Quarterly Review and Annual Report include analysis and collected data to help gauge sector strengths and areas for improvement.

Snapshot: 2021 Q1

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VALUE OF SECTOR

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Gross Value Added

In Q1 2021, the nonprofits sector saw a drop of 1% in its gross value-added portion to the economy, despite the nation’s gross domestic product growing by 6.4% during the same period.

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FINANCIAL RESOURCES

Giving Decreased for the Majority of Causes

In Q1 2021, giving to Human Services and Environment & Animals increased. Other causes experienced substantial decreases compared to previous years.

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FINANCIAL RESOURCES

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Donors

More people gave in Q1 2021, compared to the same period last year, but that’s not the full story. Donations of $500 or less increased, while giving above $500 decreased significantly.

Explore Our Previous Sector Health Reports

Download the Full 2021 Q1 Update

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