Human Capital

The intangible collective resources possessed by individuals and groups within a given population. These resources include all the knowledge, talents, skills, abilities, experience, intelligence, training, judgment, and wisdom possessed individually and collectively, the cumulative total of which represents a form of wealth available to nations and organizations to accomplish their goals.

Huff, R. (2015). Human Capital. Encyclopedia Britannica.

Nonprofit Workforce

Millions of Americans are employed by nonprofit organizations and professionally engaged in nonprofit careers. Nonprofits employ more than 14.4 million people (estimated), accounting for more than 10 percent of total private employment. During 2003 to 2013, nonprofits outpaced businesses and the public sector in their percentage growth in employment. Total nonprofit wages are at least $634 billion a year. In addition to their own work, nonprofit employees offer essential support for unpaid volunteers (including board members) and, in turn, volunteers supply billions of hours of time annually. Volunteer labor is worth $167.2 billion a year. The nonprofit workforce contributes incalculable value to society through delivery of goods and services to communities that the public sector and the marketplace cannot or will not offer. (Note: all figures from 2013.)

These statistics in this entry are from McKeever, B. & Gaddy, M. (2016).
“The Nonprofit Workforce: By the Numbers.” Nonprofit Quarterly.

People Systems

The array of organizational practices, policies, habits, and structures that support and strengthen the morale, ability, and advancement of employees and volunteers so that they perform at the highest levels of excellence.

This definition was written by Rusty Stahl for this publication.


Intentional deployment of resources to support and develop professionals and leaders in the nonprofit workforce. These resources may include financial capital, political capital, time, attention, skill, etc. Investments may be made internally (by the board, by an executive or by executives) or externally (by foundations, donors, government funders, or corporate funders). Talent-investing may support various types of interventions, depending on context, need, interest, and level of intervention. For more specifics, see the Fund the People Guide to Investing in Grantee Talent.

This definition was written by Rusty Stahl for this publication.

Talent Philanthropy

Talent philanthropy is the intentional philanthropic investment in grantee and nonprofit talent in order to increase performance and impact. The phrase “philanthropic investment” may refer to individual giving, institutional grantmaking, nonprofit fundraising, or other types of philanthropy. In other words, talent philanthropy may be deployed from all directions and positions in the nonprofit sector. In the past, Fund the People initially used the term “talent philanthropy” but has shifted to using the more descriptive, actionoriented phrase “talent-investing.”

Stahl, R. (2013).
“Talent Philanthropy: Investing in Nonprofit People To Advance Nonprofit Performance.”
The Foundation Review, 5(3), 35-38. Available at

About Fund the People

Fund the People

Fund the People is the national campaign to maximize investment in the nonprofit workforce. To achieve this goal, we make the case, equip for action, and build a movement to change the attitudes and behaviors of funders, fundraising nonprofits, and the intermediaries that support them. There is a long-standing, sector-wide deficit of investment in the nonprofit workforce. Nonprofit professionals work in environments typified by high burnout and stretched resources. So there is a real demand for equitable salaries and benefits, more and better professional development, improved human resources functions, and healthy organizational culture. Together, we can address these challenges by reshaping existing resources to prioritize nonprofit people as the central asset of nonprofit performance. Now more than ever, we can ensure that America’s civic leadership is diverse, well-supported, high-performing, and sustainable for the long haul. Launched in 2014 and headquartered in Beacon, NY, Fund the People (originally known as Talent Philanthropy Project) is a project of Community Partners. Our work is informed by an Advisory Council of diverse leaders and a team of skilled staff and consultants, and is supported by a coalition of regional and national foundations.

To learn more about Fund the People visit:



Fund the People is appreciative of the following individuals for reviewing, editing, and providing helpful input on content throughout the Fund the People Toolkit: Jessica Bearman, Yolanda Caldera- Durant, Biz Gormley, Rebecca Schumer, Mark Sedway, and Rusty Stahl. We’re also grateful to the following Fund the People Advisory Council members who provided informative feedback and guidance on the Toolkit: Caroline Altman-Smith, Kelly Brown, Cynthia Chavez, Gali Cooks, Amber Cruz-Mohring, Ann Goggins- Gregory, Lupita Gonzalez, Sonia Ospina, Pratichi Shah, James Shepard, and Sean Thomas-Breitfeld.

Financial support for Fund the People’s Toolkit has been generously provided by American Express, Annie E. Casey Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Durfee Foundation, Ford Foundation, Kresge Foundation, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.