| Campus Center Studies Region's Nonprofits
Area charities account for more than
$60 billion in assets
April 21, 2005
By Gail Matsunaga
A study of Southern California's nonprofit
sector has discovered that the region's nonprofits are a $38-billion
industry with more than $60 billion in assets. The figures
represent per capita revenues of $1,843 for all Southern California
"Southern California's Nonprofit Sector"
– co-authored by Kathleen Costello, executive director
of the university's Gianneschi Center for Nonprofit Research,
and Peter B. Manzo of the Los Angeles-based Center for Nonprofit
Management – was presented during a special town hall meeting
last month in Los Angeles and earlier this month in Orange
County . Subsequent town halls focusing on aspects of the
report related to particular counties will continue to take
place over the next two months.
Large organizations controlled the biggest share of revenue,
with health organizations dominating the sector: 133 hospitals
reported more than $12 billion in total revenues, more than
one-third of the revenues reported by all Southern California
nonprofits. Excluding hospitals and universities, because
of their budget sizes, 13,171 NPOs reported per capita revenues
The report focused on charities in 10 Southern
California counties: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino,
San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Luis Obispo, Imperial
and Kern – counties that are home to almost two-thirds
of the state's population and more than half of its reporting
501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations.
Costello noted that the number of Orange County
organizations has risen over the years, "There were 17
percent more active organizations in 2000 than in 1997, and
their revenues grew accordingly, from $3.9 billion in 1997
to $4.2 billion in 2000."
Established in 1996, the Gianneschi Center serves the community
and the field of nonprofit sector research as a repository
for data about philanthropic, charitable and volunteer activity
in Orange County . Its first comprehensive report on the
Orange County nonprofit field appeared nine years ago, with
a second report issued in 2000.
"A demographic profile of nonprofit organizations
is useful for planning and funding purposes," said Mary
Joyce, Gianneschi professor of nonprofit marketing, who was
a presenter at the Los Angeles town hall. "Nonprofits
use such data for preliminary benchmarking.
This is one way they can calculate share of market and examine
productivity of NPOs.
"Funders like this information to examine
the state of nonprofit types – such a report can point out
areas that are under funded," she added. "Government
agencies can see what types of NPOs are being funded and might
learn where they need to focus their efforts."
Joyce observed that "the nonprofit industry
is oligopolistic – a few large organizations dominating
an industry, with many smaller players.
"In effect, we see nonprofits emulating
the fund-raising strategies of the leaders. So, everyone copies
golf tournaments, black-tie events and award luncheons that
purportedly bring in more money," noted Joyce. "Moreover,
they all charge about the same amount for all of these events.
"My take is that the industry is drowning
in mediocrity, because innovation takes a back seat to emulation.
Now, I understand that imitation is the sincerest form of
flattery, but NPOs have to think about what makes them different,
and design offerings that reflect those points of difference."
Another aspect of the report that Joyce found
interesting was what wasn't included. "Religious congregations
and nonprofits with revenues less than $25,000 don't have
to report to the IRS, so how do we measure these groups? And,
what does this mean when we consider the increase in funding
to faith-based organizations under the present administration?
From 2000 to 2002, funding to faith-based organizations increased
ten-fold in the state of California."
For more information about "Southern California's
Nonprofit Sector" report, contact Costello at 278-5376,
or visit the Gianneschi Center for Nonprofit Research website
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