Instructive Statistics on the Nonprofit Sector

Larry Tucker



A few of us coaches from the Executive Coaches of Orange County recently attended OneOC’s terrific workshop “Nonprofits by the Numbers”. On the agenda were presentations by:

The program was introduced by a very enlightening video prepared by Philanthropy Reports that emphasized the size and importance of the nonprofit sector in the U.S. Some interesting teasers: 


  • There are 2 million nonprofits in the United States (Estimates from some other sources are lower depending on the definition “nonprofit”.)
  • One in 10 Americans work for a nonprofit.
  • $300 billion is donated annually to nonprofits. 
  • Nonprofits generate about $1.1 trillion a year.
  • 6.5% of Americans volunteer for nonprofits.  

The presentations were loaded with important information. Some figures stood out for me: 


  • The number one reason people are motivated to donate to charities is the organization’s mission. (Not a surprise!) A close second is personal experience. This simply reconfirms that finding the right donors is the key to effective fundraising.
  • 57% of nonprofits have enough cash to cover 3 months or less of expenses. This is certainly an indication that many nonprofits teeter on the edge of existence on a daily basis.
  • The average cost of medical insurance per employee increased from $783 per month in 2011 to $907 per month in 2012, a 16% increase, prompting some nonprofits to freeze wages in return for maintaining the same level of health care coverage.  

My “takeaway” from this session: The nonprofit sector in the U.S. and Orange County is not only a critical “industry” for the millions of beneficiaries of these organizations, but an important part of our national and local economy.

 Author:  Larry Tucker, Executive Coaches of Orange County,