9 Things You Might Not Know About U.S. Nonprofits
GuideStar, an organization that provides access to data on 1.8 million nonprofits, compiled a report of interesting nonprofit facts. It essentially is a 101-level overview of the sector—much of this information will be familiar to nonprofit veterans—but there's still some interesting nuggets here. Here are its "Nine Things You Might Not Know About U.S. Nonprofits":
1. There are millions of nonprofits.
More than 1.5 million nonprofits were registered with the IRS as tax exempt as of July. However, there are many more, as places like churches and public schools are not required to apply for the exemption. The National Center for Charitable Statistics at the Urban Institute estimated total nonprofits closer to 2.3 million in 2012.
2. Nonprofits play an important role in the U.S. economy.
From 2000 to 2010, the nonprofit sector grew faster in terms of employees and wages than the government and business sectors. Charity giving in the country totaled $358 billion in 2014 and has accounted for 5 percent of the country's gross domestic product in recent years, adding $956.4 billion in the second quarter of 2015.
3. Not all nonprofits are tax exempt.
As mentioned previously, churches and public schools, are not required to apply for tax-exempt status. A nonprofit, as designated by each state, puts its income back into its budget and cannot distribute dividends to board members, officers or shareholders. However, most nonprofits must apply for tax-exempt status, a federal designation, to avoid paying federal taxes. These organizations' tax documents also are available to the public.
4. Not all tax-exempt organizations can accept tax-deductible contributions.
However, only tax-exempt nonprofits can receive tax-deductible contributions. Confused yet? With 30 types of exemption, only some can accept tax-deductible contributions. Typically 501(c)(3) public charities (think Big Brothers Big Sisters or Save the Children) and private foundations (like Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) are able to accept tax-deductible contributions.
5. Public charities are the most numerous type of exempt organization.
Of those 1.5 million tax-exempt charities mentioned in item No. 1, two-thirds are public charities.
6. Most nonprofits are small.
Of those 1.5 million tax-exempt charities mentioned in item No. 1, only 10 percent bring in $500,000 or more in annual revenue and only 14 percent have that much in assets.
7. Public charities held the majority of the assets in the sector in July 2015.
Public charities make up the largest percentage of exempt organizations with 69 percent. They also held 62 percent of the assets as of July.
8. Large charities held most public charity assets in July 2015.
Those large charities made up 10 percent of charities and held 87 percent of assets as of July.
9. Although private foundations make up only 7 percent of exempt organizations in July 2015, they held 16 percent of assets in the sector.
And half of private foundations had assets of less than $500,000 as of July.
To download the report, visit www.guidestar.org.
Amanda L. Cole is the editor-in-chief of NonProfit PRO. She was formerly editor-in-chief of special projects for NonProfit PRO's sister publication, Promo Marketing. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.