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The Economic Impact of Georgia's Nonprofit Sector

The nonprofit sector in Georgia is quite large and diverse, representing interests ranging from health care, education, and business associations to community groups focused on playing bridge.

Read the Executive Summary.
Read the Full Report.

In all 159 counties across the state, nonprofits work to better their communities by directly addressing issues of concern, through public service or civic engagement. The nonprofit sector spans the political spectrum of ideas, encompassing every aspect of human endeavor—from symphonies and little leagues, to homeless shelters and day care centers. While every nonprofit is unique, all are based on the core value of people coming together around issues of mutual concern, and common interest, to pursue common good.

The total expenditures of reporting Georgia nonprofit organizations was $43.1 billion—almost 11 percent of Georgia’s GSP in 2009.

The purpose of this report is to summarize data on Georgia’s nonprofit sector and show how nonprofits impact the economy. Contributing to the overall health of our economy, nonprofits bring in money from outside sources (or keep money from leaving the state), provide jobs and wages to residents, and circulate money in the economy through their purchases of goods and services. Nonprofits are also a taxpaying workforce, and a network of community leaders, policymakers, and businesses. In addition, nonprofits benefit us in ways that can’t be easily quantified. Nonprofits are the tools for community-building, fostering civil society, and strengthening our social fabric. The sector is essential to improving the quality of life, and making Georgia an ideal place to live and work.

Key Findings

  • In 2009, there were 39,174 Georgia nonprofit organizations registered with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), an increase of more than 25 percent since 2003.
  • The total value of the assets of reporting Georgia nonprofit organizations was $95.9 billion.
  • The total value of the expenditures of reporting Georgia nonprofit organizations was $43.1 billion—almost 11 percent of Georgia’s Gross State Product (GSP) in 2009.
  • More than 75 percent of total revenues for reporting Georgia nonprofits came from fees for services and dues, while only 21.9 percent derived from private contributions.
  • Nonprofits involved in community improvement and public/societal benefit made up 30.4 percent of the total number of Georgia nonprofits—the largest category. The second largest category was human services at 22.6 percent.
  • Georgia hospitals represented only 1 percent of all nonprofits, but accounted for nearly one-third of all expenditures and just over one-fifth of all the assets of Georgia nonprofits.
  • Only 3.6 percent of all Georgia nonprofits had expenditures of $10 million or more, but those organizations controlled 60.3 percent of all Georgia nonprofit assets.
  • The top 10 foundations (in terms of assets) had assets of $4.8 billion representing 49.8 percent of all Georgia private foundation assets.
  • With a payroll of more than $10.4 billion, nonprofits have a greater payroll than the construction, real estate, or information technology sectors in Georgia.
  • Depending on the assumptions used, approximately 512,000 jobs in Georgia resulted from the nonprofit sector, and more than $22 billion of personal income. At a minimum in 2009, there were 237,000 jobs that are the result of Georgia nonprofit organizations, and $10.6 billion of personal income.


This report is an update to the initial economic impact of nonprofits report that was done for 2003. Six years and one “great Recession” after the initial work, the nonprofit sector has grown considerably and is still an economic force in Georgia. With a payroll exceeding $10 billion and total employment of more than 231,000 people, if it were classified as its own industry, the Georgia nonprofit sector would rank ninth among Georgia sectors in terms of total compensation. In terms of total employment, the nonprofit sector would rank 11th behind finance and insurance, but ahead of real estate.

Nonprofits in Georgia should use this report to:

  • Insert themselves in local and state policy discussions about economic development.
  • Seek inclusion in budget discussions as an industry.
  • Mitigate local property tax challenges.
  • Seek industry-wide exemption from sales tax and other nonprofit business-friendly policy.
  • Seek leadership inclusion on boards, committees, and other governmental decision bodies that shape state, local, or departmental strategy.
  • Promote partnerships with local industry.
  • Enhance communications to position themselves beyond “quality of life benefit," toward a blended statement of quality and economic benefit.

Read the Executive Summary.
Read the Full Report.

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