How U.S. Nonprofits Get Really Big

McCaw Hall September 14, 2023 9:05 am - 10:05 am

Bookmark and Share

Ali Kelley
Analia Cuevas-Ferreras

Bridgespan recently revisited research captured in the widely read 2007 SSIR article, “How Nonprofits Get Really Big,” to explore what—if anything—has changed about how the largest U.S. nonprofits are funded.   

While it is common practice among most nonprofits to seek funding from multiple sources, the 2007 research showed that 90 percent of the largest U.S. nonprofits ($50M+) embraced funding models built around a primary source of revenue—such as government, program revenue, corporations, or individual donors. Much has changed over the last fifteen years and though some things have remained fundamentally true, an emergent funding source has entered the scene in a meaningful way: philanthropy. Bridgespan partner Ali Kelley and manager Analia Cuevas-Ferreras, the authors of the updated research on “How U.S. Nonprofit Get Really Big” will explore funding patterns of large nonprofits and the rising importance of philanthropy as an anchor funding source. They will share guidance and watch outs for those aiming to get bigger and illuminate the experiences of BIPOC leaders in their research set—representing a quarter of the leaders of the large nonprofits founded since 1990.