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Where Can I Find Financial Information About a Nonprofit?


Annual report series
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Question: Where Can I Find Financial Information About a Nonprofit?

A reader asked:

"I'm looking to start fundraising for a Nonprofit, but I want to know how much money goes to the employees, CEO and board of directors. At a minimum I'd like to see their annual report and tax fillings. How do I go about doing that? They said there were working on the tax info, but would not disclose any other info."


LaCharla Figgs, founder of Maryland based T.L. Figgs Consulting provides some suggestions:

  1. Try looking up the agency's annual IRS form 990 on Guidestar's website. It's possible that the agency wasn't required to file the report, but if the report exists, you'll find financial data there. Until recently, agencies earning less than $25K/yr didn't have to file this one.
  2. If that doesn't work, try asking for the past three audited financial reports. No need for the annual report if you can get financials. Why 3 years? You can get a look at some financial patterns and (micro) trends that might be helpful for you to see.
  3. If the agency has never had an audit, try asking for the UNAUDITED year-end financial statements for the past three years.
  4. Another idea if those three don't work is to ask whether the agency has previously received federal grant dollars. The feds review the percentage of revenue used for admin expenses--which includes salaries. (Typically, nonprofit boards serve without compensation, though they may receive expense reimbursements.)


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