Scope of the Sector

Research Friday: Who grants the most? Who gets the most?

postedby
Stephanie La Loggia, M.A.

Manager of Knowledge Resources
ASU Lodestar Center

Welcome to Research Friday! As part of a continuing weekly series, each Friday we invite a nonprofit expert from our academic faculty to highlight a research report or study and discuss how it can inform and improve day-to-day nonprofit practice. We welcome your comments and feedback.

Thanks to the 100 people who took our nonprofit sector quiz! In the quiz, we asked a few questions about Arizona's largest nonprofit organizations, in terms of assets, grantmaking, and donations. Some of the answers may have surprised you, so let's talk about a few of those trickier questions.

Who grants the most?

The term grantmaker typically refers to a nonprofit organization that grants money to other nonprofits. Most of the grantmakers in Arizona are private foundations. Even though they're nonprofits, private foundations are a little bit different, legally, than other nonprofits. They file a different 990 form (the 990 PF) and are also subject to additional rules and taxes.

Research Friday: "Really, How Many Nonprofits Are There?"

posted by
Mark Hager, Ph.D.
,

Associate Professor,

ASU School of Community
Resources & Development

Welcome to Research Friday! As part of a continuing weekly series, each Friday we invite a nonprofit expert from our academic faculty to highlight a research report or study and discuss how it can inform and improve day-to-day nonprofit practice. We welcome your comments and feedback.

Really, how many nonprofits are there?

Oy, such an easy question to ask. This is one of those common questions that doesn't have an easy answer. Part of the problem is that so many organizations fall under the umbrella of "nonprofit," which is a big stew of everything that isn't a government agency or registered as a business. This term includes informal and unincorporated associations that operate almost entirely off the regulatory radar screen. "Nonprofit" includes member-serving organizations, as well as the public-serving ones that we usually associate with the term. Some organizations are only known in their neighborhoods, some make themselves known only to the state, and some only keep up their federal paperwork. Often the best we can do is count within various categories and hope the number we come up with is close to how many nonprofits there actually are.

In Arizona, unincorporated associations sometimes register with the Corporation Commission or successfully apply for federal charitable exemptions. However, if they do not register with these bodies, and they do not have any employees, we won't easily know about them. They are the "dark matter" of the nonprofit universe — probably numerous, but almost always missing from our count-'em-up descriptions of nonprofit activity.