Washington Nonprofits conducts research to demonstrate the scope and impact of the nonprofit sector as well as to better understand the capacity building needs of the sector. Below are links to our most recent research. We invite communities in Washington State interested in using data more effectively to achieve impact to contact us to see if a partnership is possible.

How many nonprofits are there in Washington State?

The Washington State nonprofit sector includes approximately 30,000 federally-recognized tax exempt nonprofit organizations. The majority of these nonprofits are small, volunteer-led organizations. Only 6,162 nonprofit organizations in Washington reported paying staff wages in 2015.

For a comprehensive picture of the Washington State nonprofit sector in 2014, download Nonprofits in Washington: Recent Statistics and Policy Development. This report was a joint project of the UW Nancy Bell Evans Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy and Washington Nonprofits. We expect to update this report in 2018.

Below is a data visualization developed by Washington Nonprofits showing where nonprofits are located in Washington State, with the ability to focus in on specific fields of service, counties, congressional or legislative districts. This data is drawn from the IRS’s Exempt Organizations Business Master File.

Number of nonprofits in Washington State
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What is the economic impact of nonprofits in Washington State?

Nonprofit organizations in Washington with paid staff employed 236,918 employees and paid $13.07 billion in wages in 2015. Nonprofit wages were 7.6% of total wages paid in Washington State. More information and a breakdown by county is available in this data visualization, which also shows trends over three years, 2013-2015. The data for this visualization comes from cross-referencing IRS data on federally-recognized nonprofits with Washington State Employment Security Department data from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. As of April 2017, the most recently annual data available is from 2015.

Impact of nonprofits in Washington
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In addition to paid staff, nonprofits in Washington State leverage volunteer hours valued at over $5 billion per year. 30.6% of Washington residents volunteer, placing us in 16th place for volunteering nationally. More statistics about volunteerism in Washington state is available from the Corporation for National and Community Service.

What is on the mind of nonprofit leaders in Washington?

During Fall 2017, Laura Pierce hosted regional meetings in 12 communities across Washington State and interviewed many individuals in other communities to learn more about the nonprofit landscape and how Washington Nonprofits can better serve nonprofits. Download the Washington Nonprofits Listening Tour Report to learn more.

What are the capacity building priorities for the nonprofit sector?

2016 Northwest Nonprofit Sector Report

2016 Northwest Nonprofit Capacity Report

Washington Nonprofits partners with the four other northwest state nonprofit associations to release a comprehensive study on the capacity, strengths, and challenges of the region’s nonprofit sector. The 2016 Northwest Nonprofit Capacity Report: Our Strengths – Our Challenges – Our Resilience was developed using survey data from over 1,000 nonprofits in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. The report highlights the progress nonprofits are making in creating a resilient sector.

2016 Washington State Report

Download information specific to Washington State.

Statewide Capacity Collaborative (SCC) Reports

2016 Leadership Scan

The Statewide Capacity Collaborative released an assessment of the best ways to develop and support strong nonprofit leaders across Washington State. You can read more on their website.

Ecosystem Report

The Assessment of Nonprofit Capacity — commonly known as the Ecosystem Report– was published in 2009. It represents the foundational document from which Washington Nonprofits was created and around which capacity building in Washington took shape.


The Washington Index: Aligning State-level results with local community outcomes

Washington Nonprofits believes that community-level outcomes achieved by nonprofits can be improved through greater collaboration with the public and private sectors. In order to foster strong government-nonprofit partnership, we have created the Washington Index, which identifies local data sets that correspond to the state level data used by the Governor’s Results Washington team. The index makes it easy to see how communities are doing on key education and health performance measures. It can be used to identify local bright spots and hot spots, engage the community with a “data walk,” and convene service providers to coordinate resources and align services.

These measures for two areas of Results Washington were created as a demonstration project to show how outcomes can be aligned and nonprofit work can be more data driven.

Washington Index Dashboard
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