Inside Philanthropy

A blog on philanthropy and nonprofit news and issues. A publication of Philanthropy Journal.

November 12, 2007

Nonprofits’ role central in economy, society

The economic impact of nonprofits is huge, the social role they play is critical, and the organizational challenges they face are daunting.

“Nonprofit Awareness Month,” being celebrated during November in North Carolina, is a great time to nonprofits to promote the work they do and confront the obstacles they face.

Roughly 1.4 million nonprofits, including 949,000 charitable organizations, are registered with the IRS and account for 5.2 percent of gross domestic product and 8.3 percent of salaries and wages paid in the U.S., according to the Nonprofit Almanac 2007 published by The Urban Institute.

In North Carolina alone, nonprofits in 2004 contributed $23.5 billion to local economies by creating jobs and spending money locally, up from $10.1 billion in 1993, according to data from the N.C. Center for Nonprofits.

Nonprofits in North Carolina pay $6.6 billion in wages for nearly 213,000 jobs that represent 6 percent of all jobs in the state.

While program-service fees and private contracts account for two-thirds of total revenue for North Carolina nonprofits, and government grants and investment income account for another 10 percent and 3 percent, respectively, private donors account for 17 percent.

The state has over 2,200 independent foundations, 95 corporate foundations, 19 community foundations and 82 operating foundations.

With total assets of $10.7 billion, North Carolina foundations gave $781 million in grants in 2004 to nonprofits inside and outside the state.

And North Carolina taxpayers who file itemized returns donate 4.7 percent of their income to charity, or an average of $3,645, exceeding the national average of 3.9 percent and $3,509, respectively.

Among North Carolinians, 26.2 percent of adults volunteer in the community, compared to 26.7 percent throughout the U.S.

And that’s just the economic impact.

Nonprofits handle the heavy lifting in our communities, taking on the tough jobs that government and business lack the mission, will and vision to address in fields ranging from arts, culture education, the environment, and health and human services to social justice and policy change.

To handle those jobs effectively, nonprofits faces serious challenges they need to address.

Next: Confronting the challenges


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