New Jersey's Nonprofit Community

Basic Facts/Figures

  • 41,000+ 501(c)(3) organizations in NJ
  • NJ 501(c)(3)s employ 330,000 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 $56 billion in annual expenditures by NJ 501(c)(3) public charities – much of it within NJ
  • Over 1.4 million volunteers at NJ nonprofits provide over 106 million hours of service valued at more than $3.4 billion.
  • Nonprofits are funded from a variety of sources including individual donations, government grants and contracts, foundation and corporate philanthropy, fees for service, and other sources. Individual organizations vary greatly in terms of the proportion of their funds that come from these sources.
  • “Nonprofit” doesn’t mean “no profit.” Like any business, a nonprofit CAN – and, indeed, should – retain year-end surpluses and cash reserves in order to remain financially healthy. The surpluses must be devoted to its exempt purpose.
  • And like any successful business, charities must invest in their own infrastructure (technology, planning, R&D, professional development) in order to be sustainable. Charities that skimp on these items are LESS effective, starving themselves of strategic resources necessary to do their work. Overhead or administrative expenses such as audits, insurance, facility maintenance, etc., are important to ensuring organizational safety, compliance and accountability.

Data Sources: IRS Business Master File of Exempt Organizations; DataLake LLC Nonprofit Research; Corporation for National & Community Service; Bureau of Labor Statistics; Independent Sector; and Johns Hopkins University

New Jersey Nonprofit Issues/Trends (2023)

  • Despite the social and economic importance of a strong, vibrant nonprofit community, key challenges persist.
  • Demands for services and rising expenses are still outpacing funding – a longstanding problem with deep ramifications for delivery of programs and services in our communities. While 76% of survey respondents reported that demand for their services had grown in 2023, only 44% said their funding had increased. Equally troubling, 79% anticipated that demand would rise in 2024 and 72% expected expenses to increase, but only 49% anticipated growth in funding.
  • Significant workforce shortages continue to challenge threaten nonprofits’ ability to meet community needs. Half (50%) of respondents with employees reported that they had staff shortages, with an average vacancy rate of 20%. Factors contributing to the problem include budget constraints that prevent more competitive compensation, and competition from employers in other sectors.
  • There are significant opportunities to improve the vital relationships between nonprofits and their philanthropic and government partners.
  • Incorporating diversity and equity as a permanent and intentional part of all aspects of nonprofit work remains critically important.

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

    • Financial uncertainty (51%)
    • Cannot afford enough good staff (44%)
    • Need for a stronger board (43%)
    • Increased benefits/insurance costs (39%)
    • Need for better branding or communications (38%)
    • Increased demand for program services (32%)

Top issues affecting nonprofit sector viability in the coming decade:

  • Foundation/corporate funding (53%)
  • Nonprofit infrastructure/capacity building (49%)
  • Government grants/contracting (48%)
  • Attracting/retaining qualified workers (40%)
  • Attracting/retaining capable, committed board members (39%)

Source: New Jersey Center for Nonprofits, New Jersey Nonprofits: Trends and Outlook 2024 


National Council of Nonprofits
America’s Nonprofits

Nonprofits by the Numbers

Nonprofit Impact Matters

Myths about Nonprofits

Urban Institute
National Center for Charitable Statistics

Johns Hopkins University Center for Civil Society Studies
Nonprofit Economic Data Project (active 1999-2021)