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The Charitable Nonprofits

The Charitable Nonprofits
An Analysis of Institutional Dynamics and Characteristics

William G. Bowen, Thomas I. Nygren, Sarah E. Turner, and Elizabeth A. Duffy

A wealth of data exists on the charitable sector in the United States, yet there are very few definitive references available to help professionals and researchers better understand the significance and importance of the nonprofit sector in American society. The Charitable Nonprofits fills this gap in the literature. Written for nonprofit leaders, researchers, and practitioners, as well as for policy makers and government officials, this important work tracks trends in institutional demographics and explores how funding patterns differ among various types of nonprofits. Based on research spanning more than two decades, the book is filled with charts, graphs, and tables that help the reader visualize the impact charitable organizations have had on American society.

The authors examine the complex relationships among such factors as field of activity, age, size, and revenue profile. Their analysis helps answers such questions as:

  • Do the size and age of organizations vary by field of activity?
  • Why do different types of nonprofits have distinctly different revenue profiles?
  • How rapidly have expenditures risen over time?
  • Have nonprofit organizations become more dependent on earned income?


The Charitable Nonprofits provides a clear and succinct description of the size and structure of the nonprofit sector and for the first time charts the establishment of new entities and the exit rates among nonprofits since the mid-1960s. Written from an institutional perspective, the book presents essential information about the numbers of public charities in major fields of activity, the geographic distribution of both public charities and private foundations, the effects of tax reform legislation on institutional formation, and much more.

1994. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers. ISBN: 0787900249

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