The Great Recession that started in late 2007 is often seen as one big body blow, but figures in the 2012 edition of “The Nonprofit Almanac” show it to be more like a superstorm, leaving shocking devastation in some areas while hitting others less dramatically.
Still, the effect was profound, and it was felt in the nonprofit sector as well as in the general economy.
The Almanac, authored by Katie L. Roeger, Amy S. Blackwood and Sarah L. Pettijohn and published by the Urban Institute Press, includes data from 2000 through 2010, providing trend information in the sector in the United States, presented in more than 50 charts and 100 tables. It is the latest in a series from the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) at the Urban Institute.
The Almanac tracks financial trends, giving and volunteering and the size, scope and finances of public charities. The primary sources of data were Internal Revenue Service (IRS) records and Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) estimates.
- One of the eye-catching findings is that during the period 2007-2010, when the country was experiencing the worst of the recession, nonprofit employment increased 4 percent and wages increased 6.5 percent, despite decreases in the business sector of 8.4 percent and 8 percent, respectively.
- Nonprofits paid $587.7 billion in wages and employed 13.7 million people in 2010. In 2010, the health care and social assistance sectors accounted for most nonprofit wages, 56 percent. Not all was rosy, however.
- Statistics show that in eight of the years from 2000 to 2010 the nonprofit sector spent more money than it earned. The gap in the years 2008, 2009 and 2010, for example, was $65 billion. This would seem to indicate that the growth in the sector is being financed by borrowing or tapping reserves, according to the report.
The authors also point out that the trends do not negate the hardships that many nonprofits endured, some making severe cutbacks and others closing up for good. The numbers showed:
- Private giving to nonprofits reached $290.89 billion in 2010, up from $280.30 billion in 2009, but still down from the pre-recession level of $310.57 billion in 2007.
- Giving by individuals or households accounted for 72.8 percent of private giving in 2010, $211.77 billion. The report estimates that volunteers spent 14.9 billion hours volunteering in 2010.
The Almanac is not an annual publication. The last edition was issued in 2008. For more numbers, go to www.uipress.org