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Scope of the International Nonprofit Sector: Compilation of Data for Comparative and Exploratory Purposes

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

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

Cause IQ

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

Cause IQ. (n.d.). Directory of Nonprofits by Category. Retrieved from

Cause IQ. (n.d.). International and Foreign Affairs Organizations. Retrieved from

Google. (2019). Currency Codes AdSense Management API. Retrieved from

Government Outcomes Lab. (2019). “Projects Database”. Oxford University Blavatnik School of Government. Retrieved from

Guidestar. (n.d.). “Search”. Candid. Retrieved from

IUPUI Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. (2019). Giving USA 2019: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2018. Retrieved from

Jones, D. (2019, April, 4). “National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities (NTEE) Codes”. Urban Institute National Center for Charitable Statistics. Retrieved from

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

Mudaliar, A., Bass, R., Dithrich, H. Nova, N. (2019). “2019 Annual Impact Investor Survey”. Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN). Retrieved from

Murphy, B. (n.d.). Global SIB Database. Retrieved from

National Philanthropic Trust. (2019). The 2019 DAF Report. Retrieved from

OECD. (n.d.). Data – Grants by private agencies and NGOs. Retrieved from

Tarnoff, C. (2015, July 21). “U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID): Background, Operations, and Issues”. Congressional Research Services. Retrieved from

USAID. (n.d.). Foreign Aid Explorer. Retrieved from

The Philanthropic Initiative. (2019, August 21). “A Guide to Global Giving”. Giving Compass. Retrieved from


Internal Revenue Service. (2010, January). Instructions for Requesting Information on Exempt Organizations (Publication p4838). Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2019, November 11). Nonprofit Organization. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2019, November 10). Non-Governmental Organization. Retrieved from

Image by Yuri_B from Pixabay

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