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50 Nonprofit Facts and Statistics

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Most people, or at least me, like lists of facts. Like the height of Mount Everest is 29,032 feet high. Although it was considered to be 29,028 feet high until December of 2020, when the official height was changed. Facts are still fun to read. In this list, there shouldn’t be anything as controversial as the height of Mount Everest though, so sit back and enjoy.


If you’re a subscriber to our weekly newsletter, you’ll notice that our 50th issue is coming out this week. That lead us to put together a list of nonprofit facts from various sources, also including nuggets that we’ve been able to uncover over time.

Facts and Statistics
  1. There are approximately 1.8 million nonprofit organizations in the U.S. (
  2. States with most nonprofits: 1) California, 2) Texas, 3) New York.
  3. Charitable giving accounted for 2.1% of gross domestic product in 2016. (
  4. School groups raise more than $1.5 billion every year selling various products. (
  5. 26% of Private Foundation funding goes to Education. (
  6. 23% of Private Foundation funding goes to Health. (
  7. 13% of Private Foundation funding goes to Community and Economic Development. (
  8. 13% of Private Foundation funding goes to Human Services. (
  9. 9% of Private Foundation funding goes to Arts and Culture. (
  10. All 501(c) organizations (other than churches) are required to file some version of the IRS Form 990, regardless of revenue.
  11. If nonprofits were a country, they would have the 5th largest economy in the world. (John Hopkins University)
  12. Churches, schools, and foundations dominate the nonprofit sector, accounting for almost 40% of all nonprofits in the United States. (
  13. After that, about 15% of organizations are classic civil, social, and business engagement organizations, including little leagues, chambers of commerce, fraternal organizations. (
  14. The next seven percent include emergency assistance providers, residential care facilities, and other human services. (
  15. Another seven percent are museums, arts groups, and other cultural and humanities nonprofits. (
  16. The remaining types of nonprofits — about one third of all nonprofits — all have four percent or less of the total, and include everything from unions to environmental advocacy to think tanks and civil rights. (
  17. 23% of grant dollars from U.S. funders were awarded for international purposes. (
  18. On average, people spend an average of 52 hours per year volunteering their time. (
  19. Foundation Group provides services for Nonprofit Formation, IRS Form 990 preparation, Charitable Solicitations Registration, and Nonprofit Bookkeeping.
  20. There are more than 10 million nonprofits and non-governmental organizations worldwide.
  21. Approximately 91% of high net worth households give to charity. (
  22. The median number of grants awarded by foundations is 73. (
  23. Independent Private Foundation assets equaled $960B in 2020. (IRS)
  24. Private Operating Foundation assets equaled $84B in 2020. (IRS)
  25. Corporate Foundation assets equaled $37B in 2020. (IRS)
  26. Community Foundation assets equaled $99B in 2020. (IRS)
  27. 40 states, plus DC, require 501(c)(3) nonprofits to register prior to soliciting donations.
  28. Historically, charitable giving rises about one-third as fast as the stock market. (
  29. Virtually all forms of nonprofit revenue generation will trigger a registration requirement, including person-to-person solicitation, fundraising events, and even product sales and participation fees.
  30. 29% of Private Foundation funding directly impacts economically disadvantaged people. (
  31. 21% of Private Foundation funding directly impacts children and youth. (
  32. 8% of Private Foundation funding directly impacts women and girls. (
  33. 3% of Private Foundation funding directly impacts religious groups. (
  34. The top four volunteer areas are for religious (34.1%), educational (26%), social service (14.9%), and health (7.3%) organizations. (
  35. 31% of donors worldwide give to nonprofits located outside of their country of residence. (
  36. 17% of private giving is from individuals. (
  37. The American nonprofit sector employs approximately 11.9 million people (one out of every 10 working Americans), making it the third largest employment industry in the country, behind only retail and manufacturing. (Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society)
  38. Approximately 63 million Americans — 25% of the adult population — volunteer their time, talents, and energy to making a difference. (
  39. 53% of all charities rely on contributions for the majority of their revenue. (
  40. 76% of public charities annual revenue is $0 – $99K. (IRS)
  41. 13% of public charities annual revenue is $100 – $499K. (IRS)
  42. 3% of public charities annual revenue is $500 – $999K. (IRS)
  43. 5% of public charities annual revenue is $1M – $4.9M. (IRS)
  44. 3% of public charities annual revenue is >$5M. (IRS)
  45. Traditional product fundraising accounts for roughly 80% of the dollars that school groups use to provide “extras” for their schools. (
  46. For 32% of charities, the majority of revenue comes from program services. (
  47. There are approximately 1.3 million 501(c)(3) organizations based in the United States. (National Council of Nonprofits)
  48. 30% of annual giving occurs in December. (
  49. 10% of annual giving occurs on the last 3 days of the year. (
  50. The first of over 20,000 nonprofit organizations for which Foundation Group helped secure 501(c)(3) status was located in Collierville, TN – and it’s still operating!
Bonus Fact

51. Foundation Group has a 100% IRS approval rate for 501(c)(3) status applications. (Shameless self-promotion)

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Charles is the Marketing Director and has been with Foundation Group since 2005. He has been working with, or for, the nonprofit world for more than 20 years.

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