urban institute nonprofit social and economic policy research

Facts and Figures from the Nonprofit Almanac 2008

Public Charities, Giving, and Volunteering

Read complete document: PDF


PrintPrint this page
Share:
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Digg Share on Reddit
| Email this pageE-mail
Document date: May 01, 2008
Released online: May 12, 2008

The nonpartisan Urban Institute publishes studies, reports, and books on timely topics worthy of public consideration. The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Urban Institute, its trustees, or its funders.

The text below is an excerpt from the complete document. Read the full paper in PDF format.


Abstract

This brief highlights trends from the seventh edition of The Nonprofit Almanac 2008, prepared by the National Center for Charitable Statistics at the Urban Institute. The Almanac is the latest in the Urban Institute's series of statistical profiles of the nonprofit sector and focuses primarily on 501(c)(3) public charities. We also highlight key findings on private charitable contributions and volunteering, two vital components of the nonprofit sector. This brief includes the most recent available data (2005 and 2006).


Introduction

We divide nonprofit organizations into three groups, 501(c)(3) public charities, 501(c)(3) private foundations, and “other” nonprofit organizations. Public charities include most organizations active in the arts, education, health care, and human services. They are what most people mean when they use the term nonprofit organization. The nation’s approximately 350,000 religious congregations are also considered public charities, but they are not required to register with the IRS, although about half have chosen to do so.

Private foundations are also tax exempt under section 501(c)(3). A founding individual, a family, or a corporation usually endows these organizations. Typically, foundations fund 501(c)(3) public charities, although they may also provide scholarships, support government activities, or conduct operating activities similar to those of public charities.

The “other” category includes thousands of social and recreational clubs, trade associations, labor unions, veterans associations, and advocacy organizations, as well as a relatively few large but obscure entities, such as a health care trust for a major automaker.

Of the 1.4 million nonprofit organizations registered with the IRS in 2005, over half a million collected more than $25,000 in gross receipts and are therefore required to file a Form 990 annually. (All private foundations are required to file an annual Form 990-PF, regardless of their size.) These “reporting organizations” accounted for approximately $1.6 trillion in revenue and $3.4 trillion in assets in 2005, the latest year for which complete data are available.

As displayed in table 1, the number of nonprofit organizations registered with the IRS grew by 27.3 percent from 1995 to 2005. Over this same time, the number of reporting nonprofit organizations grew by 22.9 percent. The finances of reporting nonprofit organizations also grew at a healthy rate from 1995 to 2005. While the U.S. GDP increased by approximately 35 percent over this period after adjusting for inflation (Bureau of Economic Analysis 2007), revenues and assets for reporting nonprofits grew by at least 54 percent—a difference of nearly 20 percentage points. Total assets, in particular, rose dramatically, with an inflation-adjusted increase of 77.1 percent.

(End of excerpt. The entire paper is available in PDF format.)



Topics/Tags: | Nonprofits


Usage and reprints: Most publications may be downloaded free of charge from the web site and may be used and copies made for research, academic, policy or other non-commercial purposes. Proper attribution is required. Posting UI research papers on other websites is permitted subject to prior approval from the Urban Institute—contact publicaffairs@urban.org.

If you are unable to access or print the PDF document please contact us or call the Publications Office at (202) 261-5687.

Disclaimer: The nonpartisan Urban Institute publishes studies, reports, and books on timely topics worthy of public consideration. The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Urban Institute, its trustees, or its funders. Copyright of the written materials contained within the Urban Institute website is owned or controlled by the Urban Institute.

Email this Page