urban institute nonprofit social and economic policy research

Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy

CNP tag lineThe Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy (CNP) conducts and disseminates research on the role and impact of nonprofit organizations and philanthropy.

Our Mission

To promote understanding of civil society and improve nonprofit sector performance through rigorous research, clear analysis and informed policy. Read more about the role of the center in this interview with the director Elizabeth T. Boris. 

Major Initiatives

A full description of our projects is offered HERE


Read the blog of Urban Institute Fellow,
Dr. Gene Steuerle,
The Government We Deserve.


Upcoming Events

Free Webinar

The Performance Imperative: Living Up to the Promise of the Social Sector
April 16, 2015, 3:00 - 4:30 pm (EDT)
Learn More and Register

Latest Reports

Data Use for Continuous Quality Improvement: What the Head Start Field Can Learn from Other Disciplines A Literature Review and Conceptual Framework
by Teresa Derrick-Mills, Heather Sandstrom, Sarah L. Pettijohn, Saunji Fyffe, Jeremy Koulish

2014 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report
by Urban Institute, Association of Fundraising Professionals

The Nonprofit Sector in Brief 2014
by Brice S. McKeever, Sarah L. Pettijohn

The State of Nonprofit Governance
by Amy Blackwood, Nathan Dietz, Thomas H. Pollak

Contracts and Grants between Human Service Nonprofits and Government: Comparative Analysis
by Sarah L. Pettijohn, Elizabeth T. Boris

The Impact of the Great Recession on the Number of Charities by Subsector and Revenue Range
by Nathan Dietz, Brice McKeever, Melissa S. Brown, Jeremy Koulish, Thomas H. Pollak

The Effect of Government Contracting on Nonprofit Human Service Organizations: Impacts of an Evolving Relationship
by Brett Never, Erwin de Leon

Boards as an Accountability Mechanism
by Francie Ostrower

The Validating Arts & Livability Indicators (VALI) Study
by Elaine Morley, Mary Kopczynski Winkler, Simone Zhang, Rachel Brash, Juan Collazos

National Study of Nonprofit-Government Contracts and Grants 2013: State Profiles
by Sarah L. Pettijohn, Elizabeth T. Boris, Maura R. Farrell

Nonprofit-Government Contracts and Grants: Findings from the 2013 National Survey
by Sarah L. Pettijohn, Elizabeth T. Boris, Carol J. De Vita, Saunji Fyffe 

More CNP Reports, Books and Recordings

National Center for Charitable Statistics

NCCSThe National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS), a program of the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute, is the national clearinghouse of data on the nonprofit sector in the United States.

For the latest data on the nonprofit sector, see The Nonprofit Sector in Brief 2014: Public Charities, Giving and Volunteering

For data and quick answers about the U.S. nonprofit sector, visit our Statistics and Profiles pages.

Read five Questions for Thomas H. Pollak on local nonprofits' financial health.

File Forms 990 and State Registration Forms Electronically

efile 990Developed by NCCS, 990 Online© is a web-based application that allows nonprofit organizations and nonprofit accountants to electronically prepare and submit IRS Forms 990, 990-EZ and 8868 (Extension Request). Organizations can electronically file their tax returns for fiscal years ending 2005 to 2008. The service is free for small organizations. State Registration Forms are currently available for Pennsylvania, Michigan and Hawaii. New York and Mississippi are slated to join our offerings soon. Read more.

Form 990-N (ePostcard)

Small tax-exempt organizations whose annual gross receipts are normally $50,000 or less may be required to electronically submit Form 990-N, also known as the e-Postcard.  Organizations can file this form using our IRS-approved web product.  Click here to get started.

NCCS Publications on Smaller Public Charities



Audio and Video Recordings


The Nonprofit Almanac 2012



Download each copy of The Nonprofit Sector In Brief from 2008-2014

Like us on facebook