What mapping every nonprofit in the U.S. can tell us

What causes do people care most about in the U.S.? And what are Americans spending the most charitable dollars supporting? A new analytics company is using mapping technology to find out.

In terms of the sheer number of organizations tackling the problem, the West Coast is a hub for nonprofits interested in youth character development, organizations that offer a safe space for kids to spend time and activities that improve their body, mind, and value systems. In California and Washington, for instance, there are more groups tackling that issue than any other, even pressing local issues like hunger or affordable housing.

But take into account the average funding per organization and the real hub for that slice of the nonprofit sector might be the Midwest. It’s there – in places like Idaho, Nebraska, and Oklahoma – that groups receive the most money to do their work.

That’s according to maps developed by Civis Analytics, a data science firm that recently analyzed public tax filings within the sector to spot hidden trends for Fast Company. To do it, Civis worked with the IRS and Amazon Web Services to secure and review the public tax filings of 353,000 nonprofits.

Civis used a machine learning method called topic modeling to divide groups into one of 15 different topic areas based on what words they used in their mission statements (only groups that filed a Form 990 or annual disclosure with both in-depth financial information and a formal mission statement in 2017 were considered.) The company then organized the results to rank which subjects were the most popular by state (and within the top 10 large cities), as well as which subjects gained the most average funding per group. It also traced where the top five funders per category were located.

Try the map and read the full story at Fast Company.

Photo: Tom Rumble, Unsplash

Up Next

Today is "Shine a Light on Slavery Day": What is the END IT Movement?

Read Now
Editor's note: Stories appearing on NCF's website from third-party contributors are intended for informational purposes only, and we do not endorse or approve the content, services, products, or theological teachings they contain. Any questions or concerns may be directed to the original publisher of such third-party content.

Sign up for our
Saturday 7 email digest (learn more)

Join 40,000+ subscribers who receive our email digest of the
week's top stories from We call it Saturday 7.

Read our privacy policy