Economic Impact


  • NYS associations make broad contributions to the state:
    • They create jobs.
    • They are leaders in professional and workforce development. 
    • They are a significant part of the meetings industry—hosting a wide range of conventions, conferences, meetings and seminars.
    • They enrich communities and create positive change.
    • They bring deep wells of expertise and knowledge—helping NYS to be a leader in the nation and enhance the collective quality of life in the Empire State.   

  • NYS ranks second in the highest membership organization employment in the nation (California ranks first).

  • NYS ranks third in the nation for number of registered 501(c)3s—with 77,072 organizations.

  • NYS ranks fifth in the nation for number of registered 501(c)6s—with 2,883 organizations.

  • NYS membership associations bring in over $11 billion in annual revenue.

  • NYS ranks third in the nation in total membership association assets—with $28.1 billion in value (Massachusetts is first; California is second).

  • NYS professional associations are out front in:
    • Educating the workforce
    • Volunteering in the community
    • Community Service

The Power of Associations (2016) - Advancing the Economy and Society:

Associations make broad contributions to American life. They are an essential piece of our national, state, and local economies. They create jobs in every state. Their measurable economic benefits include more than 1.3 million jobs for Americans and a total payroll of more than $55 billion. Beyond their direct economic impact, associations play a vital role in enriching communities and creating positive change around the world.

  • The IRS recognized 63,866 trade and professional associations in FY2016.
  • The IRS recognized 1,237,094 charitable and philanthropic organizations in FY2016.
  • Membership organizations employ more than 1.3 million people.
  • Membership organizations generate a payroll of more than $55 billion.
  • Nonprofit organizations’ share of GDP is over 5 percent.
  • Trade and professional membership associations generate $116 billion in revenue.
  • Nearly 63 million Americans volunteer through a membership organization.
  • The meetings industry generates $325 billion in direct spending and $845 billion in business sales, and supports 5.9 million jobs.

Advancing the workforce:
Each year, associations provide millions of American workers across every industry and state with critical post-college skills training required for professional success and career advancement.  Associations proactively and purposefully create centralized training programs, certifications and standards to ensure individuals, industries and society-at-large benefit from a strong and vibrant workforce. 

  • Of the 57 million adults in America who take formal work-related courses or training each year, 9.7 million (or 17 percent) receive that training from a professional association.
  • In total, associations account for more than 315,000 meetings held in the U.S. each year, with 59.5 million participants in attendance.
  • Most associations (88 percent), regardless of type or size, report sponsoring an annual meeting or exhibition, with a median attendance of 803 registrants.
  • More than half (52 percent) of associations report holding other regularly scheduled meetings on specific topics throughout the year.

Sources: IRS Data Book 2016; NAICS (North American Industry Classification System), U.S. Census Bureau, 2018 “Economic Significance of Meetings” study by Oxford Economics

Associations by the Numbers: An Overview (2015)

Power of Associations 2015
An Objective Snapshot of the U.S. Association Community


  • The IRS recognized 66,985 trade and professional associations in 2013.
  • The IRS recognized 1,052,495 charitable and philanthropic organizations in 2013.
  • During the 2013 fiscal year, there were 1,524 new applications for 501(c)(6) status and 45,289 applications for 501(c)(3) status filed with the IRS. The vast majority of these applications were approved.

Source: IRS Data Book


  • Membership organizations (includes religious organizations, grantmaking and giving services, social advocacy organizations, civic and social organizations, and trade and professional associations) employed more than 1.3 million in 2013.
  • States with the highest membership organization employment in 2013 were California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Florida.
  • If it were a state, the Washington, DC metropolitan area would rank third behind California and New York in total membership organization employment (89,158 employees).

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW)


  • Membership organizations generated a payroll of nearly $51 billion in 2013.
  • The average annual wages for employees of business associations and professional societies combined was $73,490.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW)

Revenue and Assets

  • Trade and professional associations generated $142 billion in revenue in 2013, up 13.8 percent over the last five years ($112 billion in 2008).
  • California, Washington, DC, New York, Massachusetts, and Texas lead in association revenue.
  • Associations hold an estimated $306 billion in assets. Massachusetts-based associations hold the most assets (nearly $82 billion), followed by California, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC.

Source: IRS Business Master File, ASAE Foundation Association 990 Database

Other Benefits

  • Nearly 63 million Americans volunteered through a membership organization in 2013. Altogether, Americans volunteered nearly 7.7 billion hours. The estimated value of this volunteer service is nearly $173 billion.
  • Associations represent a major piece of the meetings and conventions industry in the United States. The meetings industry supports nearly 1.8 million jobs and accounts for $280 billion in direct spending by attendees.
  • 57 million adults in America take formal work-related courses or training each year, and more than 69 percent of those individuals receive those training programs from either a private business or a professional association.