Funding implications of normal and excessive profitability in the nonprofit sector

Sudipta Basu, Zhanel DeVides, Erica E. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We study nonprofit profitability and its effect on nonprofit external funding. In a sample of over 273 thousand U.S. NPOs during 1999–2019, we find that profitability is associated with greater public support; however, when NPOs are excessively profitable, they receive fewer subsequent donations. We find a similar relationship, but to a smaller degree, between profitability and government funding. We infer that funders desire moderate but not overly high profitability. We also find that donors are more tolerant of normal and excessive profitability for NPOs in the healthcare industry, smaller NPOs, and NPOs with shorter planning horizons. The relationship between profitability and external funding is weaker during recession periods, with funders not penalizing excessively profitable organizations during economic downturns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106923
JournalJournal of Accounting and Public Policy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Accounting
  • Sociology and Political Science


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