In its most recent count (as of October 2009), the IRS reported more than 1.1 million nonprofits registered under Section 501(c)(3) and more than 400,000 other types of 501(c) organizations (see figure at right). Most of the data we will focus on in this section is derived from the Core Data file of the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS). These figures were for nonprofits with over $25,000 in annual gross revenue that are required to file IRS Form 990 each year. The most recent available data on these groups is from the 2007 fiscal year.
According to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service , "Charitable organizations are estimated to employ more than 7% of the U.S. workforce, while the broader nonprofit sector is estimated to employ 10% of the U.S. workforce. In 2009, the charities filing Form 990 with the Internal Revenue Service reported approximately $1.4 trillion in revenue and reported holding nearly $2.6 trillion in assets. Nonprofit institutions serving households (largely charities) constituted more than 5% of GDP in 2008." The Chronicle of Philanthropy also provides a helpful illustration to show the growth of the nonprofit sector over the last twenty years.
While there are many ways to identify the different types of nonprofit organizations, the most commonly used method is to categorize charities according to the National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities (NTEE). The NTEE classifications break down the nonprofit sector into categories. The categories ("major groups") represent the broad subsectors, such as health, education, and youth development, of the charitable organization universe. While much of the sector (more than 33%) is comprised of human service organizations, the bulk of expenses and assets are in health care and education organizations.
The nonprofit sector is made up primarily of small and midsize organizations. Of all filing nonprofits, 82.3% have expenditures of less than $1 million. This overwhelming majority of organizations, however, only held 7.4% of the sector's assets.
Nonprofits can be found from coast to coast. Ranging from just under 1,000 nonprofits in Wyoming to 40,000 in California, nonprofits are contributing to the economy and well-being of communities all across America. You can find state specific reports under the heading "Economic Impact of the Nonprofit Sector" on our Research and Reports listing.
According to NCCS and the IRS Statistics of Income, nearly 27% of income tax returns filed for 2007 included itemized charitable contributions. On average, Americans made $1,237 in charitable contributions per tax return filed, accounting for an average 2.2% of their adjusted gross income.
Connect with local resources and expertise Find