I researched, compiled, and analyzed the following material as supporting evidence for a research paper regarding the international nonprofit sector for my ‘Role & Unique Nature of the Nonprofit Sector’ class at Columbia University’s Master of Science in Nonprofit Management degree program.
Since much of the data we have on international nonprofit work is Americentric, the purpose of this exploration was to better understand both what we know and what we don’t know concerning the international scope, sources, and composition of philanthropic giving and nonprofit operations on a cross-border, global scale.
Please note that this was purely an exploratory exercise for the purposes of (a) reference simplification and (b) potential future research and analysis. As such, it should be understood within the spirit of that context. If you do find this material valuable, please feel free to cite and reference as follows (and leave a note in the comments if you’d be so kind):
Murphy, B. (2019, November). “Scope of the International Nonprofit Sector: Compilation of Data for Comparative and Exploratory Purposes”. Ben Murphy. Retrieved from http://www.thisisbenmurphy.com/2019/11/11/scope-of-the-international-nonprofit-sector-compilation-of-data-for-comparative-and-exploratory-purposes
Table 1. U.S. Funding for International Nonprofit Organizations
How big is “International Aid”? It depends on whether you mean only U.S. giving to international charities, for which there is a wide range of data discrepancy (pictured above), or whether you mean global giving (cross-border) to international charitable work (that will be the next chart below)? Confused yet? That’s ok. It’s confusing.
Data, Terminology & Sources
GIIN 2019 Annual Impact Investor Survey – Capital Invested (USD millions), Fund Managers: Not-for-Profit + Foundations (p. 12).
Giving USA 2019: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2018, p. 22
Urban Institute: Nonprofit Sector Brief 2018, section: Type
Urban Institute: Nonprofit Brief 2018., section: Growth
OECD Data – Grants by private agencies and NGOs
Cause IQ – Directory of Nonprofits by Category – General Categories of Nonprofits (NTEE)
Cause IQ – International and Foreign Affairs Organizations
Cause IQ – Types of International Focused Organizations
Table 2. U.S. + RoW Funding for International Nonprofit Organizations – Exploratory Calculations
Considerable money flows into the international nonprofit sector from outside the United States. To get a theoretical picture of the potential full scope of International Nonprofit Organizations – and funding – globally … I started with the IRS NTEE Q code categories and then added potential additional revenue / assets such as: Social Impact Bonds, Impact Investing, Donor Advised Fund giving potentially unaccounted for elsewhere, as well as various additional projected international aid flowing to global nonprofits outside the purview of the U.S.
Data, Terminology & Sources
RoW = Rest-of-the-World
Guidestar – Organization Search, NTEE Cause + Subcause, Sort by Gross Receipts, Tabulated only organizations > $1m
[BETA] Global SIB Database (Estimated Global, Annualized)
Based on currency conversion of data from the Oxford University Blavatnik School of Government’s Government Outcomes Lab (GO Lab) Projects Database
Full currency-conversion work appears in Table 3 of this document
GIIN – Not-for-Profit + Foundations (p. 12)
Candid. Center for Disaster Philanthropy – Measuring the State of Disaster; Data; Source of Giving by Region; Non US Giving (OECD DAC, UN OCHA Non-DAC, Non-US Corp Giving, Non-US Online Global Giving)
Giving USA 2019: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2018 (pp. 272-273)
National Philanthropic Trust, The 2019 DAF Report (section 5, para. 5)
USAID – Total Disbursements, 2017
Congressional Research Service – 29% methodology
Estimated Proportional non-U.S., non-E.U. International Philanthropy as % of nonprofit sector assets (Annualized) calculated based upon
Urban Institute – 2.2% figure
Giving Compass – $1.5 trillion non-U.S./EU assets figure
Table 3. Currency-Converted Figures, Annualization, and AUM for Global Social Impact Bonds
Due to the multi-year and highly-international work of SIBs, one might assume that much of the related AUM and spend is not adequately reflected in philanthropic figures related to international nonprofit activity. The above table was an endeavor to bring some comparative value to the SIB space. The original .csv data (Oxford, 2019) was refined using google sheets and then exported into the datawrapper tool. A future, live version of the full document will be published in 2020. This will include live currency updates.
Data, Terminology & Sources
AUM = Assets Under Management
Currency codes for denomination conversion pulled from Google’s AdSense Management API
Global impact bond data downloaded as .csv file from the Oxford University Blavatnik School of Government’s Government Outcomes Lab (GO Lab) Project Database (and recalibrated as shown above).
Candid. (n.d.). Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy. Retrieved from https://disasterphilanthropy.candid.org/data
Cause IQ. (n.d.). Directory of Nonprofits by Category. Retrieved from https://www.causeiq.com/directory/categories-ntees
Cause IQ. (n.d.). International and Foreign Affairs Organizations. Retrieved from https://www.causeiq.com/directory/international-focused-organizations-list
Google. (2019). Currency Codes AdSense Management API. Retrieved from https://developers.google.com/adsense/management/appendix/currencies
Government Outcomes Lab. (2019). “Projects Database”. Oxford University Blavatnik School of Government. Retrieved from
Guidestar. (n.d.). “Search”. Candid. Retrieved from https://www.guidestar.org/search
IUPUI Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. (2019). Giving USA 2019: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2018. Retrieved from https://store.givingusa.org
Jones, D. (2019, April, 4). “National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities (NTEE) Codes”. Urban Institute National Center for Charitable Statistics. Retrieved from https://nccs.urban.org/project/national-taxonomy-exempt-entities-ntee-codes
McKeever, B. S. (2018, November). “The Nonprofit Sector in Brief 2018: Public Charities, Giving, and Volunteering.” Urban Institute, National Center for Charitable Statistics. Retrieved from https://nccs.urban.org/publication/nonprofit-sector-brief-2018
Mudaliar, A., Bass, R., Dithrich, H. Nova, N. (2019). “2019 Annual Impact Investor Survey”. Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN). Retrieved from https://thegiin.org/assets/GIIN_2019%20Annual%20Impact%20Investor%20Survey_webfile.pdf
Murphy, B. (n.d.). Global SIB Database. Retrieved from http://sib.thisisbenmurphy.com
National Philanthropic Trust. (2019). The 2019 DAF Report. Retrieved from https://www.nptrust.org/reports/daf-report
OECD. (n.d.). Data – Grants by private agencies and NGOs. Retrieved from https://data.oecd.org/drf/grants-by-private-agencies-and-ngos.htm
Tarnoff, C. (2015, July 21). “U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID): Background, Operations, and Issues”. Congressional Research Services. Retrieved from https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R44117.pdf
USAID. (n.d.). Foreign Aid Explorer. Retrieved from https://explorer.usaid.gov
The Philanthropic Initiative. (2019, August 21). “A Guide to Global Giving”. Giving Compass. Retrieved from https://givingcompass.org/pdf/a-guide-to-global-giving
Internal Revenue Service. (2010, January). Instructions for Requesting Information on Exempt Organizations (Publication p4838). Retrieved from https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/p4838.pdf
Wikipedia. (2019, November 11). Nonprofit Organization. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonprofit_organization
Wikipedia. (2019, November 10). Non-Governmental Organization. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-governmental_organization