A New Look at How Us Nonprofits Get Really Big

When researchers at Bridgespan Research in 2007 looked at 297 US nonprofits with at least $50 million in annual revenue, they found that 90% of them had raised their bulk of their money from a single source: corporations, government, or program services.

Conventional wisdom at the time was that nonprofits should try to diversify their sources of funding, but "conversations with leaders at these nonprofits underlined that achieving scale had required fundraising teams and capabilities that were tailored to the needs of their primary funding sources," the researchers wrote at the time.

Seventeen years later, however, the researchers' findings haven't changed, they write at the Social Security Institute.

In their latest study, they looked at 269 nonprofits founded since 1990 with at least $50 million in revenue in their most recently available audited financial statement or IRS Form 990, and found that while the three most common sources of fundinggovernment, program services, and corporate philanthropyremain the same, the dominant revenue source is philanthropy, which accounts for at least 60% of the nonprofits' total revenue.

The researchers also looked at the racial and ethnic identities of the leaders of the large nonprofits and found that, of the 297, 27% have a CEO or executive director who identifies as a person of color.

They also found that in 2007, just

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