Humanities Indicators
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Funding & Research  >  Not-for-Profit Humanities Organizations
Other Not-for-Profit Humanities Organizations and Their Revenues

Alongside not-for-profit organizations described elsewhere within the Humanities Indicators (see the items related to museum organizations; libraries and archives; history organizations; cultural and ethnic awareness organizations; English literacy organizations; and organizations whose work is centered on writing, books, and literature), a small number of other organizations are engaged in humanities work. These organizations include local, regional, and state humanities councils and their affiliates; archeology organizations; research institutes and institutions not addressed by the categories above; and professional/scholarly societies and associations for multiple humanities disciplines or for disciplines not addressed by the categories above. Drawing on tax records extending back to the 1980s, the following indicator tracks the number and revenues of larger not-for-profit organizations of this kind; that is, those with gross receipts of $50,000 or more (and thus required to submit the federal tax forms that are source of the data underlying this indicator).

Findings and Trends

  • In 2012, 390 not-for-profit humanities organizations in the “other” category (i.e., organizations that do not fit in one of the categories used by the Humanities Indicators (HI) to classify such entities) had gross receipts of over $50,000 (Indicator IV-9j). The revenues of these organizations totaled $406 million in 2012. Median revenues for organizations in this category were $267,275, higher than that for any of the main organization types identified by the HI.
  • Revenues for these organizations peaked in 1999, at $494.3 million, while the number of institutions in this category reached the highest level in 2004 (at 435).
  • The median age (as measured by the number of years since an organization received federal tax-exempt status) of the other humanities organizations in 2012 was 25 years—in line with the median of 25 years for all not-for-profit humanities organization types considered together.
IV-9j: Numbers and Revenues of Other Not-for-Profit (NFP) Humanities Organizations, 1989–2012* (Adjusted for Inflation)

* Organizations whose gross receipts were $50,000 or more and which include, but are not limited to, humanities councils, scholarly societies in disciplines other than those addressed by the other categories, and academies. For more on these organizations, see “What Is a ‘Humanities Organization’?” Years are “circa” years, a concept developed by the collector of these data to compensate for the often substantial lag between the end of organizations’ fiscal year and their filing of IRS Form 990, the annual financial report required of all public charities—and the source of the data presented in this indicator. For more on circa years and the rationale for excluding organizations with gross receipts of less than $50,000, see “About the Data.”

** Number of years since recognized as “nonprofit” by the federal government.

Source: Original analysis by the Humanities Indicators of data culled from the Internal Revenue Service Form 990 Return Transaction Files by the Urban Institute’s National Center for Charitable Statistics. Revenues were adjusted for inflation using the Gross Domestic Product Implicit Price Deflators produced by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (annual deflators, vintage 3/27/2015;, accessed 4/6/2015).

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