small nonprofits

Small nonprofits, big impact

posted by
Anjali Deshmukh,
Associate Director

Angela Francis,
Senior Associate
Nonprofit Finance Fund

Welcome to Research Friday! As part of a continuing weekly series, each Friday we invite a nonprofit scholar, student, or professional to highlight current research reports or studies and discuss how they can inform and improve day-to-day nonprofit practice.

There are over 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States. Of those, three-quarters (almost 1.2 million) have annual budgets under $1 million, and most are even smaller. What these organizations lack in size, however, they make up for in impact. They respond to localized needs, are absolutely critical to community building, and are staffed by people with deep knowledge and caring for the communities where they live and work. These organizations often serve communities that have been abandoned by countless others. Yet, in the Nonprofit Finance Fund’s (NFF) work with small nonprofits (most recently through our Capital and Capacity for Economic Recovery Initiative), we’ve found that these essential organizations often struggle to match available funding sources to their actual needs, which results in a number of challenges. So what are some of these challenges, and what makes small nonprofits different from their larger counterparts? Our new report, Small Organizations Solving Big Problems, explores this question.