Think you know everything about charitable nonprofits? Think again!

Nonprofit Impact Matters

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Most nonprofits are small and community-based, serving local needs: 92% spend less than $1 million annually; 88% spend less than $500,000.

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> 10%

Nonprofits employ more than 10% of America’s private workforce – more jobs than in manufacturing, construction, or finance.

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< 3%

Less than 3% of nonprofits lobby to advance their missions – compared to 100% that have the legal right to do so.

The report gives you free access to trusted information
about the extraordinary American treasure known as charitable nonprofits.
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What's In The Report?

America’s 1.3 million charitable nonprofits enrich the lives of everyone, in ways both seen and unseen. Nonprofit Impact Matters pulls back the curtain and tells the story of nonprofits from their perspective. It also provides practical insights and key national- and state-level data.

  • Nationwide, there are 12.3 million nonprofit employees and more than 64 million nonprofit board members and other volunteers.
  • The nonprofit sector - as a whole - earns more than 80 percent of its revenue (through fees for services and government contracts and grants), receiving another 14 percent of its revenue thanks to donations by individuals (10.2%), foundations (2.9%), and corporations (0.9%).
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If you’re not sure what the nonprofit sector means to our communities, our economy, or the important issues we face as a society – look no further. This easy-to-understand report makes it clear why everyone should care about the health of nonprofit organizations – and should rally behind critical issues that are impacting the nonprofit sector’s ability to continue its good work on behalf of us all.
Anne Wallestad,

President & CEO, BoardSource

This is a vital intervention to document, celebrate, and defend the role of nonprofits in our communities, economy, and culture. The National Council of Nonprofits has done it again.

Darren Walker,

President, Ford Foundation

Knowledge is power, and this engaging resource provides nonprofit leaders and supporters the information they need to advocate for the continued vitality of their missions. As a former congressional staffer, I also think this should be required reading for our elected officials as they consider how policy changes will impact this vital sector of our society.

Amanda Tyler,

Executive Director, BJC

We Can Face Our Challenges Together

Operating a nonprofit is not easy these days. Several challenges exist. Some are internal to each organization. Others are external and larger than any one organization can address alone. By tapping into the power of nonprofit networks, including for advocacy, nonprofits can continue improving lives and creating more equitable and thriving communities.

Ten years after the Great Recession began, the public’s needs for human services were even greater in three-quarters of the states than before the recession.

The increase in needs for human services has been documented by multiple recent studies cited and explained in the report. Those increasing needs have strained the ability of many nonprofits, especially small to midsized nonprofits in local communities, to keep up with the need for services.

All nonprofits, just like for-profit businesses, need a reliable and supportive public policy environment.

Nonprofit missions are vulnerable to actions by policymakers who, whether intentionally or not:

Policy threats occur not just at the federal level, but also at the state and local levels.

A change in federal law can have nationwide ramifications, but changes in a state’s laws can be just as consequential for the nonprofits in that state. And data show the odds of policy changes being made are much greater at the state than the federal level. 

Nonprofits can overcome these challenges by embracing the proven wisdom that more can be accomplished by working together than by operating separately.

Nonprofits’ strength is in our collective numbers. Nonprofits exist in every community, are closest to the problems, and understand the issues.

Since nonprofits see the solutions to the community’s challenges firsthand, nonprofits should be sharing their insights with policymakers to help them make informed decisions. Policymakers need and deserve to hear the voices of their nonprofit constituents.

Nonprofits have the constitutional right, statutory authority, and moral obligation to advocate and even lobby on behalf of our organizations and the individuals and communities they serve. In fact, charitable nonprofits can—and absolutely should—speak out on matters of public policy that affect their missions.

Recently-Released Nonprofit Publications

This nationally representative survey of nonprofit organizations, fielded January-April, 2021, focused on operating 501(c)(3) nonprofits. The report covers giving trends and how they were affected by the events of 2020, geographic and demographic characteristics of the people and communities that nonprofits serve across the U.S., and the demographic diversity and representation of nonprofits’ staff and leadership. For various reasons, hospitals, schools, higher-education institutions, churches and other houses of worship, and certain other organizations were excluded from the sample.

This special report shares examples of how more than half the states partnered with nonprofits in 2020 to successfully deploy CARES Act funds, and provides guidance, lessons learned, and recommendations to governments and solutions for nonprofits seeking to use the $350 billion in available American Rescue Plan Act funds for relief and recovery in communities.

Many state-level surveys and polls have been conducted, and in some cases, reports written, providing data from the field on how COVID-19 and the related economic crisis are affecting nonprofits. In addition, there are some nationwide and regional surveys and reports that provide insights. We gathered the state and national data here and will update the page when we discover new data of interest.

COVID-19’s Impact on the Human and Social Services Sector (U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, October 2020)

This report provides an overview, data, and analysis of the nonprofit sector’s critical role in recovery and how secondary effects of the pandemic have resulted in threats to its services and survival. It focuses on FEMA Region 3: DC, DE, MD, PA, VA, and WV.

Building Movement Project’s latest report shines a spotlight on how 2020’s social upheavals are affecting people of color-led (POC) nonprofit organizations and their communities, programs, leadership, and financial sustainability. BMP surveyed 433 nonprofit leaders of color and conducted 41 in-depth interviews over the past few months to understand the impact of leading during times of crisis and possibility.

Image at top of page: Supporters of the Connecticut Community Nonprofit Alliance telling legislators that community services are essential (image courtesy of the Alliance).

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