While the nation's gross domestic product grew by an inflation-adjusted 36.6 percent from 1994 to 2004, the nonprofit sector's revenues increased 61.5 percent, according to a new compendium of nonprofit facts from the Urban Institute's National Center for Charitable Statistics. The sector's expenses and assets grew at even faster pace: 62.6 and 90.7 percent, respectively.
Historically, nonprofits have not been subjected to as much public scrutiny as for-profit institutions, without the same level of regulation. As the United Way states, "To a great extent, U.S. nonprofit organizations are answerable to no one but their board of directors."15 Until recently, few nonprofits have performed audits on their financial and other records.
- Hospitals and other health care organizations, 12.9 percent of all reporting public charities, accounted for 58.7 percent of the sector's revenues in 2004, 41.1 percent of its assets, and 60.0 percent of its expenses, dominating each category.
- Colleges and other higher education nonprofits, less than 1 percent of reporting public charities, received 11.6 percent of the sector's revenue, controlled 22.3 percent of its assets, and recorded 10.9 percent of its expenses.
- Human service organizations, 34.5 percent of reporting public charities, had only 13.6 percent of the sector's revenues, 11.5 percent of its assets, and 14.0 percent of its expenses.
- Twenty-nine percent of Americans volunteered with a nonprofit in 2005.