A couple of weeks ago, I came across this superb infographic regarding the economic impact of the nonprofit sector. This was striking to me because I personally had tried to assemble similar data on numerous occasions over the last 30 years.

People have always inquired about how any businesses could survive, let alone thrive, serving this sector alone, since so little is really known by most people outside of this sector. The extent of the data presented below and the economic impact the data represents were even a mild shock to me.

Infographic via USF Online Master of Public Administration

My Top 3 Surprises

1. Public Sector Charities had the following:

  • $1.51 TRILLION in Revenue
  • $1.45 TRILLION in Expenses
  • $2.71 TRILLION in Assets

That is economic impact is greater than most countries and truly illustrates how well managed the sector as a whole is, in my opinion.

2. One out of ten workers in the United States is employed by a nonprofit organization

The nonprofit sector is the 3rd largest employer after retail and manufacturing with nearly 11 million paid employees. Perhaps more importantly, it is one of the few large areas of the U.S. economy adding jobs at a rate of nearly 2% per year!

I have always felt the nonprofit world smoothed out the larger boom and bust shifts in our economy.

3. 26.8% of all Americans volunteered in 2011

Together those dedicated individuals provided nearly 8 billion hours of service! Could you imagine what could be achieved in 50% of Americans volunteered? Even if just the retired population, who is often searching for meaningful endeavors, led the way with greater than 50% helping in some manner, the impact would be huge. Nearly every American has talent to give back, let’s hope this percentage keep climbing.

Economic Impact can be Measured in Different Ways

Obviously, our beloved nonprofit sector is a force to be reckoned with in so many areas. However, economic impact pales in comparison to the huge impact the combined mission outcomes have had and will have on our world. I only wish we could create an infographic that could even remotely reflect the huge outcomes that happen every day, month and year! Perhaps this will be possible as more and more charities implement proper measurement.

A Special Treat for the Holiday Season

My good friend and Bloomerang partner Pamela Grow, who provides so much help and encouragement for the small fundraising organization, contacted me this last week about her second-annual 12 Days of Christmas Nonprofit Gifts Giveaway.

This is truly a gift for our beloved nonprofit sector and includes outstanding tools and education items from twelve of the top consultants and experts serving the charity world. It is worth checking out and could provide some marvelous brain stimulation around those holiday meals!

Jay Love

Jay Love

Co-Founder & Chief Relationship Officer at Bloomerang
A 30+ veteran of the nonprofit software industry, Jay Love co-founded Bloomerang in 2012. Prior to Bloomerang, he was the CEO and Co-Founder of eTapestry for 11 years, which at the time was the leading SaaS technology company serving the charity sector. Jay and his team grew the company to more than 10,000 nonprofit clients, charting a decade of record growth. Prior to starting eTapestry, Jay served 14 years as President and CEO of Master Software Corporation. MSC provided a widely used family of database products for the non-profit sector called Fund-Master. He currently serves on the board of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and is the past AFP Ethics Committee Chairman. Jay is also the author of Stay Together: How to Encourage a Lifetime of Donor Loyalty.