NASAA Notes: August 2010


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August 4, 2010

Trends in the Nonprofit Sector

In 2007, there were 1.47 million tax-exempt organizations registered with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Public charities (more commonly known as 501(c)3 organizations) account for two-thirds of these registered nonprofits and include organizations that work in the arts, education, health care and human services. Public charities have experienced tremendous growth over the last 10 years. In 2007, there were 342,995 public charities that reported financial information.* Collectively, these organizations reported $1.4 trillion in revenue and nearly $2.6 trillion in assets. Compared to 1997, these are increases of 58% in number of reporting organizations, 98% in revenue, and 97% in total assets.

There are a number of differences that emerge when reporting organizations are broken down by subsector. Arts, culture and humanities organizations account for 11% of all reporting public charities but only 2% of revenue and expenses, and less than 4% of assets. Human services organizations are the most numerous type of organization, accounting for one-third of the total. Health organizations account for the majority of revenue and 39% of assets.

Number and Financial Scope of Reporting Public Charities by Subsector, 2007

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The growth in the nonprofit arts sector also differs from the sector as whole. The number of reporting arts organizations grew 63% over 10 years, slightly higher than average. Revenue grew at a slower rate (86%), while assets grew at a much higher rate (141%). The fastest growing subsectors were two of the smallest subsectors, environment and animals, and international and foreign affairs.

Number and Financial Scope of Reporting Public Charities by Subsector, 1997-2007

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The Nonprofit Sector in Brief also provides key findings on private charitable contributions and volunteering, drawing upon data from the Foundation Center, Giving USA and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Please consult the full report for further information.

If you would like to talk to a NASAA staff person about the nonprofit sector, contact Angela Han.

* Only tax-exempt organizations collecting more than $25,000 in gross receipts each year are required to report financial information to the IRS.