The nonprofit, voluntary, civic, or charitable sector in the United States comprises a vast and diverse set of organizations. From soup kitchens, daycare centers, environmental, advocacy, and civil rights groups; to hospitals, educational institutions, theatres, and faith based organizations, charitable organizations exist to serve and promote the common good. In most corners of the United States you will find hard working and committed individuals coming together to make their communities stronger, safer, and better for all.
Nonprofit organizations are probably best known by the services they provide to people in need. But it is important to remember that charitable organizations also create the space and opportunity for individuals to engage in volunteerism and become actively involved in civic life. By connecting people, inspiring altruism, and giving voice to local and far-reaching concerns, nonprofits weave an uninterrupted web of connection that binds communities together.
This report summarizes the most current data available on the nonprofit sector and highlights the amazing breadth and scope of the sector. Through this report we aim to build awareness of the vital role that nonprofits play in society and to educate policymakers, journalists, and the public about the charitable sector.
While this report focuses on reporting nonprofits -- those charitable organizations that are required to file annually with the IRS and provide much of the data available on the sector -- it is important to note that the overwhelming majority of registered charitable nonprofit organizations (66 percent or 548,777) are small in size and often volunteer-led. They are not reflected in the data because their revenues did not exceed $25,000 in 2003. From your local PTA to youth sports leagues to rescue squads, these organizations are at work every day. Your community is enriched by the role and presence of these critical nonprofits.
The National Council of Nonprofit Associations is pleased to present this report on the United States charitable sector. We hope that it will enable you to gain a greater appreciation and understanding of our nation's charitable nonprofits. Charitable organizations are beacons of hope and a cherished American resource for bringing together communities, states, and the nation.