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Nonprofit Research

The Michigan Nonprofit Research Program (MNRP) supports research to improve our understanding of the Michigan nonprofit sector. The program offers opportunities to undertake research vital to the development of the sector in Michigan, and serves as a valuable convener and clearing house for the sector. The program encourages research that will inform and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Michigan nonprofits. For more information about the Michigan Nonprofit Research Program and its history, click here.

Economic Benefits of Michigan's Nonprofit Sector

Michigan’s nonprofit sector generates significant economic benefits for state residents. It is both geographically diverse, with organizations in every county of the state, and operationally diverse (click here to see maps of these regions). Michigan’s nonprofits can be found in every subsector of the service economy, including a strong presence in health care, human services, education, and the arts.

With multiple sectors of our economy struggling, nonprofit organizations are more important than ever, not only through the support they provide in their various social and political efforts, but also in their significant contribution to the overall economy.

This report documents that Michigan’s nonprofit organizations:
  •  Number over 48,000—an increase of over 2 percent since 2006 (47,000), 18 percent since 2001 (41,000), and 28 percent since 1997—with over 10,000 new organizations since 1997
  •  Employ directly nearly 435,000 people in 2011 (a decrease of less than 1.1 percent from 440,000 in 2010, but still an increase of nearly 1.5 percent from 429,000 in 2006), or 11 percent of the Michigan workforce
  • Pay their employees nearly $4.8 billion per quarter
  • Generate an additional 239,711 jobs in indirect effects as a result of spending by the organizations, not including the induced employment effects.
  • Hold assets of nearly $227 billion, a significant increase since 2008 ($179 billion) and 2003 ($105 billion). 
  • Receive more than $217 billion in annual revenue, an increase of 63 percent since 2008. 
  • Generate $137 billion each year in overall economic activity, through direct expenditures of nearly $66 billion, which creates indirect economic effects of over $30 billion and induced economic effects of an additional $41 billion.

Michigan’s nonprofit sector has continued to grow in a time of economic turmoil. It has provided not only relatively stable employment opportunities in a state with a high unemployment rate, but it is also an important contributor to Michigan’s overall economy. Nonprofit organizations in Michigan generate around $137 billion each year in overall economic activity and provide employment to 11 percent of Michigan’s population (more than 1 of every 10 workers).

Download the full report (PDF, 830kb)

View or Download Detailed Regional Tables

New Quarterly Survey: Social Media Use and Nonprofits

Nonprofits are increasingly taking advantage of social media tools to accomplish their missions. This study investigates which nonprofits in Michigan are using social media and how they coordinate and regulate social media use in their organizations. It also examines levels of satisfaction among organizations that use social media.

Despite Gloomy Jobs Picture, Michigan Nonprofit Employment Grows

The nonprofit sector has been one of the few engines of job growth in Michigan in the past decade, and it has sustained this record during the recent recession, according to a new report from Johns Hopkins.  Between 2001and 2007, nonprofit employment in Michigan grew by 17.4 percent, while for-profit employment declined by 9.5 percent. Nonprofit employment then continued this trend during the recession, growing by 2.6 percent between the second quarter of 2007 and the second quarter of 2009 while jobs in the business sector fell by 12.8 percent.

Human Service Nonprofits and Government Collaboration

The National Council of Nonprofits and the Urban Institute's Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy have collaborated in developing the first comprehensive national survey and related research documenting the challenges experienced by nonprofit human service providers under contract with governments at the local, state and national levels.

The report, Human Service Nonprofits and Government Collaboration: Findings from the 2010 National Survey of Nonprofit Government Contracting and Grants, provides essential national and Michigan data on contracting practices, and ranks states from worst to best on several areas of concern to individuals in need of service, to taxpayers, and to entire communities.

Click here to read MNA's official news release, sharing key Michigan findings and what it means.

Urban Institute:

National Council of Nonprofits:
MNA Members Only:
Does your organization have a government contract or grant? Do the report findings ring true for your organization or have you had a different experience?  MNA encourages you to share your experience with your community.  Click here for a template news release and sample newsletter article to assist you in sharing your experience.

Quarterly Sector Research Reports

MNRP surveys the state's nonprofit sector on a quarterly basis to evaluate how certain trends and economic issues are affecting the nonprofit community. The results of these surveys are published in a quarterly report and are available for download here.

Giving & Volunteering in Michigan

In conjunction with the State of the State Survey conducted by Michigan State University's Institute for Public Policy and Social Research, we conduct an annual survey of Michigan residents on their giving, volunteering and opinions regarding charitable organizations. The latest edition of a Snapshot on Giving & Volunteering in Michigan is available below.

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