Membership and Related Organizations

Indiana Nonprofit Employment in Membership Organizations Updated Report

Read our updated report which includes employment data through 2019.

Full Report Press Release

 Key Findings:

  • Almost all religious, grantmaking, civic, professional and similar organizations are nonprofit, with very few government establishments. Nonprofits employ nearly 100 percent of all workers in this industry; most of those covered by this report work for various types of civic, professional and similar membership associations. (Religious institutions are exempt from reporting requirements and significantly undercounted).
  • Nonprofit employment in the membership industry in Indiana grew 21 percent over the 1995-2019 period, up almost 5,300 workers from 24,500 in 1995 to just below 29,800 workers in 2019. The industry grew slower than total paid nonprofit employment in Indiana, which increased by 61 percent, from 187,000 in 1995 to 301,000 in 2019.
  • The average annual growth was 1 percent for nonprofit employment in membership associations from 1995-2019. Nonprofit employment increased for 18 years during the 25-year period. Four of the six years during which nonprofit employment decreased were around the Great Recession, from 2007 to 2010.
  • Nonprofit payroll grew faster than employment up 60 percent from $559 million in 1995 to $894 million in 2019 (in constant 2019 dollars), suggesting that average annual wages increased as well. Nonprofit payroll increased for 19 of the 25-year period at an average annual rate of 2 percent.
  • Membership has five distinct subindustries—civic organizations, business organizations, grantmaking services, social advocacy organizations, and religious organizations. Grantmaking services and social advocacy organizations grew the fastest. Employment in civic organizations and the few religious organizations included in the analysis were mainly stable, while business organizations lost employees over time.

Report Summary

The Great Recession and subsequent recovery appear to have taken a heavy  toll on nonprofit organizations that rely on members for voluntary and financial support.

Nonprofit membership organizations in Indiana lost more than 1,000 employees and over $15.6 million (adjusted for inflation) in payroll from 2007 to 2011. Those organizations include trade unions, political groups, business associations, and fundraising organizations. Researchers point out membership organizations may face special challenges in attracting participants and donors as compared to other nonprofit industries, such as health and education, which are considered necessities even during recessions.

Prior to the Great Recession, membership organizations did see growth. From 1995 to 2011, nonprofit membership employment grew 8 percent and inflation-adjusted payroll grew 32 percent. Membership organizations employed an average of 12 percent of all Indiana nonprofit employees and paid an average of 8 percent of all Indiana nonprofit payroll over the time period.