Social Assistance Industry Profile

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Excerpt from Social Assistance Industry Profile

Organizations in this industry provide services such as food banks, temporary shelters, emergency relief, rehabilitation, adoption, and child care. Major institutions include Feeding America, Food for the Poor, and Habitat for Humanity (all based in the US), along with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (Switzerland), Sanctuary Housing and The Salvation Army (both based in the UK), and World Food Programme (Italy).

Many social assistance organizations operate internationally and have affiliates around the world. The internet and social media have enabled groups to reach donors and service providers instantaneously, without respect to geographic borders. That trend is expected to continue.

The US social assistance industry includes about 172,000 establishments (single-location organizations and units of multi-location organizations) with combined annual revenue of about $191 billion.

Child care services, which are included in the industry, are covered in a separate profile.


Demand is driven by the number of people requiring assistance in a number of social, economic, and emergency circumstances. Larger organizations may have more effective marketing campaigns to reach a wider group of people in need. Smaller social assistance organizations may focus more on a local need or more specialized issues. The US industry is highly fragmented: the 50 largest organizations generate about 15% of industry revenue.


Child day care services and private and government contributions, gifts, and grants each account for about 20% of revenue. Social assistance ...

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