urban institute nonprofit social and economic policy research

The International Charitable Nonprofit Subsector

Scope, Size, and Revenue

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Document date: September 12, 2006
Released online: September 12, 2006

The nonpartisan Urban Institute publishes studies, reports, and books on timely topics worthy of public consideration. The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Urban Institute, its trustees, or its funders.

Note: This report is available in its entirety in the Portable Document Format (PDF).

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Though international nonprofits are just 2 percent of the U.S. charitable nonprofit sector, they have continued to grow in size and scope to meet pressing demands around the world.

International organizations are a growing part of the U.S. nonprofit sector and play a vital role here and abroad, connecting Americans to the world and the world to Americans. Whether arranging international student exchanges, assisting victims of foreign disasters, or influencing policy between nations, U.S.-based international nonprofits are expanding the interactions that Americans have with people, places, and ideas from around the world. They contribute to, and are shaped by, the globalization that is redefining the world in which we live. Despite their increasing importance, these organizations have largely been understudied as a subsector of U.S. nonprofits. Newly available data from the Urban Institute's National Center for Charitable Statistics/GuideStar database make it possible to profile important characteristics of this set of organizations, as a whole and by major subgroups. The data consist of information that 501(c)(3) organizations, with $25,000 or more in annual revenue, have filed on Forms 990 with the Internal Revenue Service. Information gathered represents the most comprehensive nonprofit data yet assembled on the U.S. international nonprofit sector.

This policy brief provides a snapshot of the international subsector through an analysis of trends in their size, resources, and scope from FY 2001 to FY 2003 in three major areas of operation: international development and relief assistance, international understanding (e.g., educational exchanges), and international affairs. It gives an overview of the geographic concentrations and the depth of U.S. international nonprofit activities and enumerates the importance of small organizations in international operations. The report also confirms the central role of private support and financing for foreign aid and provides a window into the financial health of these organizations.

Note: This report is available in its entirety in the Portable Document Format (PDF).



Topics/Tags: | Governing | International Issues | Nonprofits


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