Is it true that more citizens than ever are employed by nonprofits, serving on boards or volunteering for charitable organizations?

This could be so. It feels that way, but perhaps it is because I am a forever dweller in this space.  Last weekend, I felt that we, as nonprofits, were part and parcel of Small Business Saturday and the excitement of “local.”

Those of us who live and breathe somewhere in the nonprofit landscape have a pretty good idea of our significance outside of the important services we provide—we are an economic force.

Many believe we have a keener sense of the economic importance of 501(c)(3) organizations in our community than in most—in part due to the large influence of philanthropy.  I often wonder how those who live on “the outskirts” of the philanthropic world view our contributions to the economy.

Last night I ran a few numbers from the 248 nonprofits serving Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto Counties with published profiles in The Giving Partner. Organizations in this list have multi-million dollar budgets with more than 100 staff and have $10,000 budgets with no staff. Endless combinations of budget/staffing/impact/mission focus are there.  Still, these nonprofits are only a portion of the charitable organizations in our 4-county area.

For the current fiscal years of these 248 agencies, income of $805,931,746 and expenses of $780,690,677 are projected. When you consider us as small businesses, I’d say we’re players–we represent!

Here is the income projection breakdown by organization type in increasing order:

Animal Welfare
$9,324,670   (1%)

Youth Development
$16,979,989   (2%)

$22,507,541   (3%)

$23,279,207   (3%)

Arts & Culture
$68,748,801   (9%)

$205,544,256 (24%)

$205,230,607 (26%)

Human Services
$254,316,676 (32%)


Pretty impressive, isn’t it?

In the next post, we’ll talk more about the number of people employed in each of these sectors.

Are these numbers surprising to you? Do they reinforce what you felt was true? We would love your thoughts.

-Susie Bowie
Director, Nonprofit Strategy
Community Foundation of Sarasota County