A good place to start is a nonprofit organization’s tax return. The Form 990 is a publicly available document that provides information on the filing organization’s mission, programs and finances.
Access 990 forms at the Foundation Center.
- Enter the organization name and/or other information; a list of matches will appear
- Click on the most recent year for a PDF of the form
- Things to look for:
- Front page: Relative consistency in net assets from previous year
- Page 2: Good description of the service(s) provided. Note: smart organizations use this area to describe successes and accomplishments
- Page 9-Statement of Revenue: A question to ask here is whether the organization might rely too heavily on one source of income
- Page 10-Statement of Functional Expenses: Does anything look out of proportion? You may want to review one or more of the other Form 990s to check for consistency
- Part B, Page 2: Review the support the organization has received for the last five years
By law, every nonprofit is obligated to provide a copy of its Form 990 to the public. Some may ask for reimbursement of copy/mailing fees. Many will provide a PDF version.
Guidestar: A great web resource with a lot of information about best practices for nonprofits. You do not need to be a member to use many of the services or read the articles.
Is there something we should know about these websites? Tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org