The Nonprofit Sector – We Are Powerful!

Someone once asked me when I told them about working in the nonprofit sector, “Why can’t you turn a profit? Then you’d really make an impact.” That was twenty years ago and I hope the world is now more enlightened about the crucial work nonprofits do all over the world. Since then nonprofit impact has been well documented. Nonprofits often do the things that private businesses won’t do and that government cannot do. And if you took away all the nonprofits that intersect with your life it’s hard to see how the world could survive without them. Think about the many nonprofits that touch just you and your family: schools, churches, temples and synagogues, many hospitals, the environmental groups protecting your favorite park, coastal clean-up groups that ensure healthy beaches, volunteer health teams caring for ill relatives, and the local foundation that supplies funding to your favorite charity. If we woke up tomorrow to a world without nonprofits it wouldn’t be a very pretty place.
Nonprofit workers in California know our state is privileged with a robust sector that not only has a positive impact on our lives but is a major generator of jobs and revenue. A new research report supports these breathtaking statistics:
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Nonprofits generate $208 billion in annual revenue and hold $328 billion in assets.

Nonprofits are a large and vital part of California’s economy, with nonprofit economic activity contributing 15% (or 1/6) of California’s Gross State Product (GSP).

Each year California nonprofits bring in at least $40 billion in revenue from out-of-state sources.

– Nonprofits rank as the 4th largest industry in California by employment, producing more jobs than the construction, finance, or real estate industries.

– Nearly 1 million people are employed by nonprofits in California, accounting for six percent of total state employment.

– California volunteers contribute more than $24.7 million in unpaid labor each year, the equivalent of 450,000 full-time jobs.

The new report Causes Count: The Economic Power of California’s Nonprofit Sector was commissioned by Cal Nonprofits, the sector’s statewide alliance of nearly 10,000 nonprofits (If you haven’t joined, you should!). As the introduction to the report so elegantly states: While sometimes portrayed as too small to matter or less efficient than for-profit businesses, this report shows California’s nonprofit sector to be too big to overlook, robust with human and financial capital, and uniquely representative of the visions and values of California’s diverse communities.

Read the full report!

So, take some time today to celebrate your power, nonprofit folks, and if you are one of the millions of Californians that benefit from the work nonprofits do then reach out to your favorite nonprofit and say “Thanks!”