Nonprofit Chronicles

Journalism about nonprofit organizations and their impact


Nonprofit organizations do vital work. They aim to alleviate poverty, save the environment, cure disease, promote social justice and protect human rights.

In the US, the nonprofit sector accounts for about $2 trillion in economy activity and employs nearly 10 percent of the workforce. There are about 1.1 million nonprofits in the US, and another 80,000 foundations. Remarkably, the sector added nearly 50,000 new nonprofits every year between 2000 and 2010.

How are nonprofits performing? That’s hard to say. And that’s what this blog is about.

Unlike public companies, which report quarterly earnings—a rough measure of whether they satisfy their customers—nonprofits typically do not rely on the people they serve for their financing. They lack the feedback loops that discipline business. As a result, the manager of a Starbucks, whose performance is measured and compared with peers, is arguably more accountable than the head of CARE, the Boy Scouts of America or The Nature Conservancy.

In a modest way, Nonprofit Chronicles will try to remedy that, by reporting on the effectiveness of nonprofits, spotlighting leaders and prodding laggards—much as Fortune or the Wall Street Journal do with business. For a fuller explanation of what I’m trying to accomplish here, please read my first post, Why Nonprofit Chronicles.

Nonprofit Chronicles is written by Marc Gunther, a veteran journalist based in Bethesda, Md. His writing about business and sustainability can be found at

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