According to The Nonprofit Almanac 2016, the nonprofit sector is the only one to have seen continual growth every year since 2000. This was the first volume of The Nonprofit Almanac to receive a comprehensive update since 2012, making it the ninth volume overall. Although the nonprofit sector has maintained a 4% to 8% deficit in total revenue since 2008, it has still seen growth and a big increase in wages.
In 2003, the sector paid about $425 billion in wages. By 2013, that number had reached about $634 billion (a 49% increase or about 18% if one accounts for inflation). That’s a pretty impressive increase, and even if one does not account for hospitals, wages still rose about 40% between those years.
The nonprofit sector is also a respectable part of the Gross Domestic Product, coming in at 5.4% of annual GDP by contributing $938 billion. It employs more than 10% of Americans. What’s more: nonprofit employment grew 22% between 2003 and 2013, which was faster than any other sector of American employment.
So what does this mean? For starters, it means that nonprofits, in a variety of forms, are not only strong but continuing to grow. That’s a good thing. From a charitable point of view, it means more people are giving, or giving more, whether it’s their money or their time.
It means that the idea of running a company that doesn’t exist solely to produce profits for investors is there, even if it’s not particularly common. This is good because it implies that there are people starting companies who aren’t comfortable with the kinds of wage gaps seen between executives and regular employees in big name corporations.
Lastly, it means that nonprofits are a viable alternative to the for-profit mindset that created the recessions that nonprofits weathered so well.