Revenue of largest nonprofits grew more than 1 percent in FY2019

Revenue of largest nonprofits grew more than 1 percent in FY2019

Despite a drop in investment income, overall revenue for the largest nonprofits in the United States increased 1.15 percent on a year-over-year basis in fiscal year 2019, the NonProfit Times reports.

According to the 2020 edition of the NPT 100, the longest-running study of nonprofits that derive at least 10 percent of their revenue from public support, the hundred largest nonprofits reported aggregate total revenue of $86.42 billion, up from $84.7 billion in FY18. Public support grew a modest 2.17 percent, to $47.04 billion (54.44 percent of overall revenue), while program revenue ticked up less than 1 percent, to $22.66 billion, and "other revenue" increased nearly 6 percent, to $3 billion. The study also found that investment income fell 8.2 percent, to $3.48 billion, while government support declined 1.14 percent, to $9.98 billion. On the expense side of the ledger, costs rose 2.2 percent, with administrative expenses increasing nearly 7 percent, to $6.75 billion (8 percent of overall expenses), fundraising expenses rising 5.16 percent (5 percent), and program costs up 1.61 percent, to $71.65 billion (87 percent).

As in previous years, YMCA of the USA topped the list, with $8 billion in overall revenue, including $1.05 billion in public support, followed by Goodwill Industries International ($6.44 billion in overall revenue), Catholic Charities USA ($4.5 billion), United Way ($4.05 billion), and the Salvation Army ($3.65 billion). Among the hundred largest nonprofits — which collectively hold assets of at least $153 billion — the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (#35) saw its revenues more than double from the $275 million reported in FY18 to $605.77 million, of which $441 million was investment income and $108.89 million was public support. 

The NonProfit Times notes that even before the COVID-19 pandemic, charities were facing the possibility of a drop in giving as a result of the tax changes that took effect in 2018. The ACLU Foundation (#99), which made the list for the first time this year with overall revenue of $205.43 million, including $156.94 million in public support, reported a softening in support from small-dollar donors, especially those giving between $250 and $1,000.

Looking ahead, organizations that rely on smaller donors look to be in for a tough FY20, especially given that many of their supporters may have been furloughed or laid off as a result of the pandemic, said Dan Romano, NFP tax practice leader at Grant Thornton, which partners with the NonProfit Times to analyze nonprofit tax filings for the NPT 100 list. "Small-dollar donors are the ones who really are in jeopardy," added Romano, "because of the pandemic and the state of the giving environment."

Mark Hrywna. "2020 NPT Top 100: Nonprofits walked a tightrope in FY 2019." NonProfit Times 11/04/2020. "2020 NPT Top 100." NonProfit Times report 11/04/2020.