Request a Demo Search

7 Facts About The Nonprofit Sector You May Not Have Known

major donor prospect
Topics -

See How Bloomerang Can Have a Bigger Impact on Your Mission!

Schedule a Demo

The team at the Urban Institute has become known for their top-notch research briefs. Their “Nonprofit Sector in Brief” series focuses on key facts and figures regarding public charities, giving and volunteering – and certainly does not disappoint!

Here are seven facts and figures that were most surprising to me from their 2015 brief. How many of these were you not aware of?

1. The Nonprofit Sector Contributed 905.9 Billion to the U.S. Economy in 2013

This number comprises 5.4 percent of the gross domestic product. The immense value of the sector is in how many gaps it fills across all areas of human, animal and environmental need.

2. Only 35% of Registered Nonprofits File Forms 990, 990-EZ or Form 990-PF with the IRS

This leaves a vast number of nonprofits and their contributions to our society unnoticed. Although they are the smallest of the registered nonprofits their impact can be felt and they are the future high-growth nonprofits of the future.

Is it worth filing for many of the others not currently doing so in order for people to be able find and research your mission much easier?

3. Public Charities are the Largest Category of 30 Types of Nonprofits

Their numbers swelled to 950,000 different organizations ranging from arts, culture, education, healthcare and the largest group human service organizations. This represents 67.5% of the nonprofit sector.

From 2003 to 2013 this group grew the fastest at 19.5% compare to 2.8% for all nonprofits.

There is much competition to be aware of and to strive to differentiate from!

4. Only 5.3% of Public Charities are 10 Million or More in Size

This breakdown by size often surprises most people interacting with the sector. The chart below reveals the largest grouping to be the $100,000 to $499,999 with 37% of the total.


Any person or organization looking to serve the largest number of charities needs to pay heed to these statistics.

5. Nearly 50% of Charities Total Revenue Comes Via Fees for Services and Goods; While Charitable Giving Accounted for 13%

These fees include ticket sales, tuition, hospital fees, membership fees and product sales. The second largest group is government funding with just fewer than 35%.

This does not minimize the vast importance of fundraising to most organizations missions. Therefore, proper communication explaining why the fundraising portion of any budget is critical, even when it is a smaller portion of any individual charity’s total revenue must be considered.


6. Religion and Education Related Organizations Garner Nearly 50% of All Charitable Contributions in 2014

For all other types of nonprofits there must be an awareness of the loyalty to those top two groups. This is even more true when going for donor retention improvement since so few households give to more than 3-4 charities.

If you are not a religious or education related organization please consider how valuable and worthwhile every multi-year donor is to your future. Note the percentages in the chart below:

nonprofit sector

7. Over 25% of the U.S. Population Volunteered in 2014

Some of you reading this will wonder what is happening with the 75% of the U.S. population who did not volunteer even a single time last year. My opinion is that at least half of the non-volunteers are not aware of the hundreds of volunteer opportunities within a few miles of where they live or work.

Reaching future brand new volunteers and retaining existing volunteers can truly boost any organizations fundraising since private giving by volunteers in 2014 exceeded 358 billion dollars! Personal giving is truly the natural next step either after or going hand in hand with volunteering!

The value in such up-to-date research is often finding the hidden gems that can shed insights into why this sector is different and so special. Hopefully, these seven facts and insights can provide assistance as you either create or update your organization’s strategic plan. They might also impact budget creation!

Download the Nonprofit Sustainability Field Manual!

Get the Free eBook

Exclusive Resources

Related Articles


  • Blog #4 Career – Kaylee Larson

    […] I came across an article about 7 Facts About the Nonprofit Sector that introduced me to some really interesting facts about the nonprofit world that I had not known […]
  • Rhianna Hawk

    Wow, 25% of the U.S. population? That's a pretty large number, and so is 358 billion dollars in donations. It's so wonderful to know that Americans are doing so much to help those around them, and probably doing even more now in 2018! My husband and I have been considering volunteering for a local charity, and it's good to see that there are so many others around us looking to help out their fellow men as well.
  • PR Background Analysis: B&G club Bloomington – Alec McGrain

    […] J. (2015). 7 facts about the nonprofit sector you may not have known. Bloomerang. Retrieved from Non-profit public relations: Exciting, rewarding, and Fun! (2010). Progressions. Retrieved from […]
  • Background Analysis Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington – Katie M. Laskowski

    […] Love, J. (2015). 7 facts about the nonprofit sector you may not have known. Bloomerang. Retrieved from […]
  • 5 Things you Should Know Before Working for a Non-Profit – KYLIE MELVILLE

    […] […]
  • [The Pulse] Surprising Facts About the Nonprofit Sector, Preview of 2016 Policy Issues | PhilanthroFiles

    […] Institute conducts research each year on public charities, giving, and volunteering. The following highlights from Bloomerang are from the 2015 issue of Urban Institute’s “Nonprofit Sector in Brief” […]
Leave a reply