Understanding how nonprofits work and why they matter

Our Issues

For nearly 20 years, our scholars have analyzed the size, scope, and performance of nonprofits. Our research spans the many dimensions of philanthropy and the nonprofit sector, including nonprofit governance, foundation activities, fundraising effectiveness, and nonprofit-government contracts and grants. We are using our Community Platforms to map community assets and examining the emerging fourth sector of “for-benefit” organizations, which pursue social or environmental missions through market-based approaches.

Our Approach

By creating a clearinghouse of searchable data, conducting national surveys, and building performance measurement tools, we’ve made the field more rigorous and visible.

  • We conduct and facilitate research and inform planning and policymaking.
  • We promote transparency and the need for better data on the nonprofit sector.
  • We engage nonprofit leaders and policymakers in examining government policies that affect the nonprofit sector, bringing up-to-date information to the policy process through our Emerging Issues Seminars, Tax Policy and Charities initiative, and State-Federal Regulatory project.
  • We help governments and nonprofits track and improve their effectiveness and efficiency.
  • We provide online tools for filing and viewing IRS Form 990s, benefiting nonprofits, regulators, researchers, and donors.
  • We evaluate programs to get reliable information on what works.

Our Impact

Our work strengthens the efforts of nonprofits and foundations. As public and private funders increasingly require nonprofits to demonstrate their effectiveness, we help organizations increase efficiency, measure outcomes, and report their accomplishments. Just one example: we are a founding partner of PerformWell, a comprehensive online resource that provides measurement tools, assessments, and practical knowledge to help improve service delivery.