National Trends

On average, nonprofit employees earn slightly more than those working at for-profit companies. This may come as a surprise to many, but it supports the idea that nonprofits must compete for highly capable, talented, ethical, productive, and creative employees just like for-profit companies and offering a comparable salary is one way to do just that.

Attracting employees to the nonprofit sector is important because the sector is growing quickly.

According to the Urban Institute's report, The Nonprofit Sector in Brief 2018, approximately 1.56 million nonprofit organizations were registered in 2015 with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), an increase of 10.4 percent from 2005. In 2017, total private giving from individuals, foundations, and businesses totaled $410.02 billion (Giving USA Foundation), an increase of 3 percent from 2016 (after adjusting for inflation). According to Giving USA, total charitable giving rose for the fourth consecutive year in 2017.

The following information from the report provides some background of the nonprofit sector in the United States:

  • There are approximately 1.56 million nonprofits in the United States.
  • This number includes a diverse range of nonprofits, including art, health, education, and advocacy nonprofits; labor unions; and business and professional associations.
  • The nonprofit sector contributed an estimated $985.4 billion to the US economy in 2015, or approximately 5.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
  • The time volunteers spent in 2017 was worth an estimated $195 billion.

Access the Urban Institute report on the nonprofit sector for more information.

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