Soon after I joined GuideStar, I concluded that the U.S. nonprofit sector was complicated. Guess what? Sixteen years later, I still think that. Only now I know I'm not alone. I've also learned that the same things tend to trip up sector newbies. Nonprofit staff members, trustees, businesspersons, journalists, whoever—they generally ask the same questions. That's why my colleagues and I created "Nine Things You Might Not Know about U.S. Nonprofits," a kind of Nonprofits 101 for anyone interested in the sector. You can download the report for free from the GuideStar website.
Here are some of the questions the report answers:
- How big is the nonprofit sector?
- How do nonprofits affect the economy?
- What's the difference between "nonprofit" and "tax exempt" (and why should anyone care)?
- What's the difference between charitable and non-charitable organizations (and why does it matter)?
- What types of nonprofits make up the sector? (Spoiler alert: public charities make up 69 percent of the sector.)
- How large are the nonprofits that make up the sector?
- How is wealth distributed throughout the sector?
We hope that "Nine Things" will make the sector a little less confusing for newcomers. And maybe even be helpful to sector veterans.
The preceding post is by Suzanne Coffman, GuideStar’s editorial director. See more of Suzanne’s sector findings and musings on philanthropy here on our blog.