National Center for Charitable Statistics

501(c)(3) Public Charities

Introduction

More than half of all nonprofit organizations are 501(c)(3) public charities. Public charities include most organizations active in the arts, education, health care, and human services. They are what most people mean when they use the term nonprofit organization. The nation’s approximately 350,000 religious congregations are also considered public charities, but they are not required to register with the IRS, although about half have chosen to do so.


Registered public charities with more than $25,000 in gross receipts are required to file a Form 990 annually with the Internal Revenue Service. Revenues and assets below are for these reporting public charities only.

Click here to see the largest and some examples of smaller organizations.

The Numbers (United States)

  • The number of organizations registered with the IRS increased by 60 percent from 593,802 in 1998 to 947,274 in 2008.

  • The number of organizations reporting to the IRS increased 73 percent from 243,430 circa 1998 to 420,187 circa 2008.

  • Total revenues for reporting organizations increased by 91 percent from $695.3 billion circa 1998 to $1,328.6 billion circa 2008.

  • Total assets for reporting organizations increased by 106 percent from $1,182.3 billion circa 1998 to $2,433.8 billion circa 2008.

(Number of reporting organizations, revenues and assets are based on all organizations that filed Form 990 or 990EZ within 24 months of the release date of the 1998 and 2008 registration files. Financial data have not been adjusted for inflation.)

Statistical Tables

Registered Organizations

Organizations That File Annually with the IRS

These organizations must have at least $25,000 in gross receipts.

Registered users can create their own custom tables to view organizations in multiple dimensions or explore other information that we have on these organizations. Click here to learn more.