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Survey of Faith-Based Nonprofit Organizations, 2011




Scheitle, C., & McCarthy, J. (2021, February 15). Survey of Faith-Based Nonprofit Organizations, 2011.


The 2011 Survey of Faith-Based Nonprofit Organizations (preceded by Christian Nonprofit Organizations, 2005) collects information on the history, activities, and leadership of a number of religious nonprofit organizations. Variables include measures of revenue, expenses, activities and religious identity, as well as demographic information on the founder(s) of these organizations.

Data File

Cases: 919
Variables: 268
Weight Variable: STAND_WEIGHT

Data Collection


Original Survey (Instrument)

Survey of Faith-Based Nonprofit Organizations, 2011

Funded By

National Science Foundation

Collection Procedures

A 52-question survey was mailed to each identified organization by the Survey Research Center at The Pennsylvania State University. In addition, each respondent was given a unique web address where it could also complete the survey. The survey asked for information about the organization, its founding, and its goals; the founder, his or her background and motivation for creating the organization; and background information from the person who completed the survey. While the survey instructions indicated that the RNO's primary founder should complete the survey if he or she were available, another leader or person familiar with the founding process was requested to do so if the founder was unavailable. Screening questions were included in the survey to indicate who actually responded (Dollhopf et al., 2015).

Sampling Procedures

The Spiritual Entrepreneurialism in the Nonprofit Sector (SENS) survey targeted all religion-related public charities (also referred to as 501(c)(3)s or, more imprecisely, just as 'nonprofits') that registered with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) during two 12-month periods. This two-cohort model was designed to capture two stages in the development of young RNOs where the founder would likely still be involved, as a better understanding of the founders was a key motivating interest of the project. [Potential respondents were identified] using the IRS's comprehensive list of active nonprofits, which is known as the Business Master File (BMF). Although only the most recent BMF is available through the IRS, historical BMFs are archived at the National Center for Charitable Statistics at the Urban Institute (IRS 2009). [Two BMFs were identified] approximately six years apart-one archived in April 2004 and the other in November 2010.3 In each of the two BMFs [organizations were identified] that had registered in the previous 12 months prior to the file's archiving date. The 'ruling date,' or the date when the IRS awarded an organization nonprofit status, was used for this purpose. To identify nonprofits that were specifically religious in nature, [the X code ('Religion-Related') in the IRS's NTEE-CC designation (National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities-Core Codes) was used] for each nonprofit. The final step was to eliminate congregations that had registered with the IRS even though registration is not required of congregations. [This was determined] through inspection of the 'foundation code' variable, which indicates whether an organization is a church or congregation. [The] final target population consisted of 5,623 RNOs; 3,405 of these organizations registered with the IRS from March 2003 through March 2004 and the remaining 2,218 organizations registered with the IRS from October 2009 through October 2010 (Dollhopf et al., 2015).

Principal Investigators

Christopher Scheitle and John McCarthy

Related Publications

Dollhopf, Erica J. and Christopher P. Scheitle. 2016. 'Explaining Variation in the Nonprofit Founding Process: Founder and Organizational Factors.' Nonprofit Management & Leadership 27(2): 261-272.

Scheitle, Christopher P. and Amy Adamczyk. 2016. 'Divine Callings: Religious Sensemaking in the Organizational Founding Process.' Journal of Management, Spirituality & Religion 13(2): 94-116.

Scheitle, Christopher P. 2015. 'Perceived Competition, Leadership Effort, and Organizational Outreach in Religious Nonprofit Organizations.' Review of Religious Research 57(2): 287-301.

Dollhopf, Erica J., Christopher P. Scheitle and John D. McCarthy. 2015. 'Initial Results from a Survey of Two Cohorts of Religious Nonprofits.' Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 54: 156-165.

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