We wrote Nonprofit Impact Matters for the 12.3 million nonprofit employees, more than 64 million nonprofit board members and volunteers, and tens of millions of donors supporting the work of nonprofits for the common good. We firmly believe that if a critical mass of people connected to nonprofits learn more about what nonprofits share in common and how their interests are aligned, then nonprofits could advance their missions even further to shape a better future for everyone.
We wrote the report to empower nonprofits with information: the first national-scale compilation telling the story of nonprofits from the nonprofit perspective, using the latest numerical data and describing the current context in which nonprofits are operating.
The report provides information you can use to advance your mission, as well as some tidbits we’ve found people enjoy learning—or at least are surprised to learn!
The National Council of Nonprofits is the central link connecting the largest sector-wide “network of nonprofit networks” in the country. Through our core network of state associations of nonprofits, we have more than 25,000 organizational members from coast to coast. We continually gather, analyze, synthesize, and circulate information, knowledge, and insights about, from, and for nonprofits that—being sector-wide and nationwide—are unmatched.
Our unique structure allows us to see things from the grassroots level of nonprofits doing vital work in local communities and then from the nationwide perspective of pattern recognition. This process reveals emerging trends, common concerns, and adaptable solutions that we share in various ways. This process of information exchange up, across, and through our networks and beyond strengthens nonprofit advocacy, capacity building, and effectiveness.
Charitable nonprofits need the public, policymakers, and the philanthropic community to understand how they operate, the challenges they face, and the value they contribute.
One of the exciting strengths we see in nonprofits is that people can and do come together to focus on an endless variety of different missions—from A (arts) to Z (zoos), from studying the tiniest DNA particle to exploring the expanses of other galaxies, and from quiet contemplation in a house of worship to drums thundering and horns blaring at the symphony. Yet we also see that the vast range of missions can be a challenge, given the usual tendency of people to concentrate on parts rather than the whole.
For nonprofits to deliver even greater impact, we all need to see the full size, diverse perspectives, shared interests and concerns, and potential power that nonprofits, collectively, bring to the table. That’s why Nonprofit Impact Matters is designed by the nonprofit community for the nonprofit community—so that, together, we can have greater impact when responding to calls to action.
Nonprofit Impact Matters focuses on “charitable nonprofit organizations” formed under Section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code. These nonprofits often are viewed as being in separate siloes of subsectors (see page 8 of the report). Indeed, many identify themselves as being in a subsector rather than as a “nonprofit” and associate with similar organizations, which we applaud so subsector specialists can focus on the good of their cause.
Yet all 501(c)(3) organizations in all subsectors still share certain core legal privileges and limitations. For matters of mutual concern to all nonprofits in all subsectors of the 501(c)(3) community, our network looks out for the common good of the sector. Those sector-wide issues include knowledge-sharing about operational matters, such as board governance, fundraising, and legal compliance.
Of even greater importance are the sector-wide issues of mutual concern dealing with public policy proposals at the local, state, and federal levels that could impact the legal rights and duties of 501(c)(3) organizations. All in the nonprofit community share common interests on issues like tax policy, regulatory oversight, employment, independent decision-making, and much more. Sometimes those policy proposals slowly arise as opportunities, while other times they flare up as urgent threats demanding immediate action. Either way, nonprofits share an interest in working together to amplify our collective voices. We’re all in this together.
But the system can’t work without nonprofits first being informed and then getting involved. We—the nonprofit community collectively—need each other, and that means you are needed. Please read the report, and then share it and the link to this website with your personal contacts. Thanks.
To learn more about how you can make a difference and help your nonprofit advance its mission, visit The Power Is Yours.