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2016 NJ Non-Profit Trends and Outlook Report


New Jersey's Non-Profit Sector: An Economic Force


2015 New Jersey Non-Profit Trends & Outlook Report Cover



National Council of Nonprofits
Trends in the Nonprofit Sector

Nonprofits by the Numbers

Myths about Nonprofits

Urban Institute
National Center for Charitable Statistics

New Jersey's Non-Profit Community

"The Center helps me remember the bigger picture. It reminds me that what affects any segment of the non-profit community affects me."
-- James A. Hemm, Former Executive Director, NJ Association on Correction

Basic Facts/Figures

  • 30,000+ 501(c)(3) organizations in NJ
  • NJ 501(c)(3)’s employ 314,000 people – nearly 10% of the state’s private sector work force and more people than many major industries including construction, utilities, transportation, finance and insurance.
  • Over $37 billion in annual expenditures by NJ 501(c)(3) organizations – much of it within the Garden State
  • 88% of NJ 501(c)(3) organizations have budgets under $500,000
  • Over 1.5 million people volunteer at New Jersey non-profits annually, providing over 160 million hours of service valued at more than $3.4 billion.

Sources: Center for Non-Profits, “New Jersey’s Non-Profit Sector: An Economic Force, 2009-2010 Edition;” Urban Institute, National Center for Charitable Statistics; and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

New Jersey Non-Profit Issues/Trends

  • 74% of NJ non-profit survey respondents say that demand for services had risen in 2015
  • 78% expected demand to increase in 2016
  • 42% reported receiving more total funding in 2015 vs. 2014, but 64% reported that their expenses were higher than in the previous year, and 35% reported that expenses exceeded support and revenue during their most recently completed fiscal year.
  • 70% expected expenses to rise in the coming year (2014) but only 47% expected total income to increase
  • Non-profits’ projections for funding in the coming year were somewhat less optimistic than one year ago, with less than half (47%) predicting that their funding would increase. A slightly higher proportion predicted that funding would go down (14% vs. 9% in 2015).
  • Respondents reported making a wide array of changes in program or service focus made in response to the trends they had experienced. Examples included increased addiction services; changes to business models due to changing demographics or revised state contracting requirements; more ESL (English as a second language) programming; expanded education focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math); the closure or adaptation of programs in response to funding changes; for human services or health providers, a transition to a fee-for-service funding model; and many others.

Top 5 issues affecting individual organization viability (aside from funding):

  • Financial uncertainty (51%)
  • Need for better branding/communications (48%)
  • Increased benefits/insurance costs (30%)
  • Need for stronger board of trustees (40%)
  • Cannot afford enough good staff (38%)

Top 5 issues affecting non-profit sector viability in the coming decade:

  • Non-profit infrastructure/capacity building (56%)
  • Foundation/corporate funding (50%)
  • Attracting/retaining capable, committed board members (48%)
  • Attracting/retaining qualified workers (37%)
  • State fiscal policy/state budget (33%)

Source: Center for Non-Profits, New Jersey Non-Profits 2016: Trends and Outlook

Non-Profit Values

In some way or another, everyone’s life is touched by the work of a non-profit. 

Non-profits enhance our daily lives by:

  • engaging us in civic discourse;
  • assisting New Jersey’s most vulnerable people;
  • educating and mentoring our youth as well as adults who want to continue to learn;
  • providing stewardship to parks and other open spaces that provide respite from a busy world;
  • encouraging creativity and an exchange of ideas through public television and radio;
  • offering artistic inspiration and cultural enrichment;
  • providing an outlet for generosity through volunteerism and donations;
  • motivating social change; and
  • ensuring vital services that span a lifetime.

Non-profit organizations are an essential part of maintaining a strong quality of life in New Jersey, and they are also a valuable component of the state’s economic engine.  There are approximately 30,000  501(c)(3) non-profit organizations in New Jersey, not only providing essential programs and services in our communities, but also serving as a vital part of our economy.  IRS data show that New Jersey’s non-profits combined spend more than $37 billion annually, most of it in the Garden State.  New Jersey non-profits employ more than 314,000 people – nearly 10% of the state’s private workforce, and more than the state’s transportation and public utilities industries, more than the construction industry, and more than the banking and insurance industries.

Non-profits make up a vital sector that improves life for everyone. Non-profits are all about service to others, strengthening communities, finding common bonds across disparate personal and professional backgrounds, and enriching our society in countless ways large and small.  Every day, non-profits realize significant accomplishments that make our world a better place.