Sector Impact


The United States nonprofit establishments employed nearly 10.7 million paid workers in 2010. This accounts for 10.1 percent of the nation’s total private employment and makes the U.S. nonprofit workforce the third largest among U.S. industries, behind only retail trade and manufacturing. (For more specific on significance of national impact, see John Hopkins Nonprofit Economic Data Report - Holding The Fort: Nonprofit Employment During  A Decade of Turmoil   (January 2012)

More specifically, the U.S. nonprofit sector employs:

  • Nearly 18 times more workers than the nation’ utilities industry
  • Nearly 10 times more workers than the nation’s real estate
  • About five and a half times more workers than the nation’s real-estate industry
  • About twice as many workers as the nation’s wholesale trade, finance and insurance, and construction industries.

Nonprofit organizations contribute 5% to the Gross Domestic Product of the United States, and if the US nonprofit sector were a country, it would have the seventeenth largest economy in the world, according to the World Bank.

It is imperative for the  strength of the U.S. economy, for our local communities and for nonprofit professionals and volunteers that nonprofits speak loudly and clearly at the legislative and policy-making level.

In South Carolina alone, there are 22,478 nonprofit organizations or associations, including 16,162 public charitable 501(c)(3)s, 942 private foundations, and 5,374 other 501(c) organizations.

South Carolina’s Nonprofit Sector:

  • Employs more than 162,000 individuals or 7% of the state workforce
  • Receives almost $14 billion in annual revenue
  • Holds assets of over $28.8 billion
  • Contributes up to $11% of South Carolina’s GSP (gross state product)