Test Your Knowledge Of The Nonprofit World

November 4, 2011       Samuel Fanburg      

More than 1.4 million nonprofits were registered with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in 2009, an increase of 19 percent between 1999 and 2009. Total giving in 2010 reached $290.89 billion, up 2 percent from the estimate provided in 2009, after adjusting for inflation.

And, volunteers contributed 15 billion volunteer hours during 2010, worth $283.84 billion. The amount is calculated at $21.36 an hour, established by Independent Sector as the estimated dollar value of a volunteer hour. The rate will vary by state.

These are among the results from a new study prepared by the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) at the Urban Institute called The Nonprofit Sector in Brief: Public Charities, Giving and Volunteering, 2011. Written by Kate L. Roeger, Amy Blackwood and Sarah L. Pettijohn, the study shows that many nonprofits have seen increases in funding and revenue, even though the current economic future looks uncertain.

These are a few fun facts and you can test your knowledge of the state of the nonprofit sector by taking the Urban Institute’s “Charity Challenge” on their website: http://www.urban.org/publications/901461.html

“The nonprofit sector continues to grow even with the economic crisis and situation we are in,” said Katie Roeger, assistant program director at the NCCS. “One positive is that giving is starting to increase. We have seen an uptick in 2009, and based on other studies, 2010 should see increases as well."

With the amount of registered nonprofits increasing in 2009, so did those reporting revenue. Some 628,700 nonprofits collected more than $25,000 in gross receipts during 2009. These organizations reported $1.87 trillion in revenue and $4.3 trillion in assets for 2009. When adjusted for inflation, reporting organizations had a 33.9 increase in revenue from 1999 to 2009, a 50.7 percent increase in expenses and a 38.7 percent increase in assets.

Public charities followed a similar pattern. When adjusted for inflation, revenues increased for public charities by 35.9 percent from 1999-2009. Expenses increased by 48.8 percent, as did assets by 33.4 percent.

Investment income has dropped dramatically, however. From stock market losses in 2009, the sector totaled $3 billion in losses. “I was surprised to see such a loss in investments,” said Roeger. “We heard about it, but until we saw the numbers, it became apparent how large the hit was.”

Half of all revenue from reporting public charities was from the sale of goods and services from private sources, such as tuition or admission. Overall fees for services for goods from private sources or from the government made up 76 percent of revenue from 2009. Fees for services and goods from government accounted for 23.2 percent, private contributions made up 13.6 percent and government grants generated 8.9 percent of revenue. The rest (2.1 percent) was from “other” sources.

Tom Pollack, program director for NCCS, cautioned that nonprofits did not have extensive operating reserves. “The sky has not fallen yet, and things could definitely be worse,” said Pollack. “I think organizations should look for opportunities to merge and share resources as government budget concerns come to a head. If you’re relying on governmental contract, it’s better to start thinking about cooperation.”

When looking at different kinds of organizations, health nonprofits are the largest, accounting for 60 percent of revenues and 41 percent of assets. Education came in second, with 16 percent of revenue and 29 percent of assets. Higher education accounted for 10 percent of revenue and 19 percent of all assets. Paired together, hospitals and higher education covered two-thirds of all nonprofit assets.

From the information provided by the Giving USA Foundation, private charitable contributions hit $290.89 billion in 2009, a 2 percent increase from the revised estimate for 2009. Congregations and other religious organizations received a third of all private contributions in 2010, almost three times the share of any other type. Education organizations received 14 percent, an increase from 13 percent in 2009.

Foundation giving decreased 2 percent from 2009 to 2010, representing $45.78 billion. Assets totaled $622 billion in 2010, a 6 percent increase from $587 billion in 1999, after adjusting for a inflation. The number of grants awarded has increased to 154,664 awards in 2009 from 108,168 awards in 1999.

The number of volunteers has stayed steady for the past five years. In 2010, an estimated 26.2 percent of adults, or 62.8 million individuals, volunteered for or through an organization. Almost 17 million adults volunteered on a daily basis, spending on average 2.46 hours volunteering. This increased from 2.4 hours in 2009. Overall, adults spent nearly 15 billion hours volunteering in 2010, worth nearly $283.85 billion. The largest use of volunteers came from social services and care accounting for 24 percent of volunteer time, up from 22 percent in 2009. The second-largest use of volunteers was for administration and support, made up of 22 percent of volunteer time down from 26 percent in 2009.

Based on the report, Roeger thinks that nonprofits can be “optimistic about giving” but should be concerned about finding other sources of revenue. “We see government funding accounted for over 31 percent of revenue for public charities, but any changes with the government and state budgets could drastically affect nonprofits in human services. It’s great to see the sector still growing strong, but they still have things to worry about.”

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