Votes Tallied. Classifications of Small, Medium & Large Nonprofits Set

in Marketing for Nonprofits,News

Just over a month ago I reached out to the nonprofit industry.

I asked leaders at nonprofits, colleagues at agencies, and other professionals to cast their vote to help establish classifications of nonprofit organizations by size. Specifically by annual gross receipts. 

Once I made adjustments to the SMALL classification and broke it down farther, 88.6% of voters were in agreement

Micro … annual gross receipts less than $500,000

Small … annual gross receipts greater than $500,000 and less than $10-Million (Range $500,000 – $10 million/year)

Medium … annual gross receipts greater than $10-Million and less than $50-Million (Range $10 – $50 million/year)

Large … annual gross receipts greater than $50-Million and less than $100-Million (Range $50 – $100 million/year)

Mega … annual gross receipts greater than $100-Million

There were a number of requests (via email, blog comments, and comments within the poll) to break the MICRO classification down further.  So as an option I offer the following:

Nano … annual gross receipts less than $250,000

Micro … annual gross receipts greater than $250,000 and less than $500,000 (Range $250,000 – $500,000 per year)

Small, Medium, Large and Mega classifications remain the same.

Also recognize that no classification method is perfect. We could slice-and-dice this so fine that research and grant guidelines would become a nightmare.  For simplicity sake, my preference at the small end is to stop at the MICRO level (Micro, Small, Medium, Large, and Mega).

In any case, a solid starting point was needed and I believe we’ve accomplished that.

Now when research institutes and large agencies conduct research, they can all use the same classifications to group respondents.  Foundations and other grant sources can use these in their guidelines. And when any of us refer to nonprofit organizations by size, we’ll know what the speaker or author means by the “large nonprofits they work with.”

If you want more on WHY I took this on and how I approached it, I suggest you read my August 9th post which started the ball rolling,Definition of Small, Medium, or Large Nonprofit Is …” 

In addition, I urge you to read over the comments to the August 9th post. As I answered reader comments I gave more reasoning behind my approach to this challenge.

Spread the word. I’d deeply appreciate your help in letting as many people as possible know about the classifications we’ve set. You’ve spoken. These are the results. Thanks again to all who participated.

{ 2 trackbacks }

Small, medium & large nonprofits get new definitions — Karen Zapp - Nonprofit Copywriter
September 15, 2011 at 10:17 am
Jeanne Ward Consulting » Recruiting and Retaining the Right Board Members for your Nonprofit Board- Part I
January 17, 2013 at 7:16 pm

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ian Rhett September 16, 2011 at 3:21 pm

I’m curious how many responses you had, and from what size orgs. It’d be helpful to give “88.6% were in agreement” some context



Karen Zapp, copywriter September 16, 2011 at 6:58 pm


Good question. Can’t believe I left that out!

The answer is: The tool I used through PollDaddy didn’t track the respondents; it only gives a tally of votes.

I do know there was a mix of nonprofits and consultants based on how people found the poll on my blog, and the comments received via the blog and email. But this wasn’t a paid research study. 🙂 Therefore I have no data to share on the size of the organizations that responded. I can tell you over 400 people from the nonprofit industry participated.

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