Revenue of Largest Nonprofits Up Nearly 5 Percent in 2018, Study Finds

Revenue of Largest Nonprofits Up Nearly 5 Percent in 2018, Study Finds

Despite sharp declines in equity indexes in December, the largest nonprofits in the country enjoyed solid revenue gains in fiscal year 2018, the NonProfit Times reports.

According to the NPT 100, the longest-running study of nonprofits that derive at least 10 percent of their revenue from public support, aggregate total revenue for the hundred largest nonprofit organizations in the United States increased nearly 5 percent in 2018, to more than $84.7 billion, with public support rising 3.4 percent, to more than $46.6 billion (55 percent of overall revenue); program service revenue up 11.5 percent, to $21.4 billion; and investment income increasing almost 4 percent, to $3.84 billion. On the expense side of the ledger, costs rose across the board, increasing 4.2 percent overall to a total of $79.7 billion, with administrative expenses rising almost 7 percent, to $6.27 billion, and fundraising costs up 5.13 percent, to $3.96 billion.

Natural disasters in the second half of 2017 loomed large for several nonprofits, especially in the Houston area, which was battered by Hurricane Harvey in August. One of them, the Houston Food Bank (#59), saw its revenue increase some 61 percent (nearly $130 million), to $340 million. Natural disasters also figured prominently in the results reported by the American Red Cross (#6), which raised $3.6 billion, including nearly $1 billion for disaster-relief efforts in response to Harvey, hurricanes Irma and Maria, and wildfires in California.

As it has in the past, the YMCA of the USA topped the list, with $7.7 billion in total revenue, including more than $1 billion in public support, while the American Museum of Natural History, with $205 million in total revenue, rounded out the list in the hundredth spot.

According to NPT, the longer-term effects of the tax changes passed at the end of 2017 remain an open question. Dan Romano, tax partner at Grant Thornton, which collects and compiles the data for the study, said that the firm did not see significant reductions in revenue as a result of tax reform, while most people who filed taxes in 2018 have already seen, and presumably adjusted to, the effects of those changes. Still, the firm is curious to see the data for 2019 before it says anything definitive about how tax reform has affected individual giving.

Mark Hrywna. "NPT Top 100 (2019): An In-Depth Study of America's Largest Nonprofits." NonProfit Times 11/04/2019.