How to Find a Nonprofits 990


How to Find a Nonprofit’s 990: A Guide for Donors and Researchers


Nonprofit organizations play a crucial role in society, addressing various social, cultural, and environmental issues. As a responsible donor or researcher, it is essential to assess a nonprofit’s financial health and transparency before contributing or studying their operations. One of the most valuable resources for such evaluations is the Form 990, a document that provides detailed information about a nonprofit’s finances, activities, and governance. In this article, we will guide you through the process of finding a nonprofit’s 990 and provide answers to some frequently asked questions.

Finding a Nonprofit’s 990:

1. Guidestar is a leading platform that provides access to a wide range of nonprofit information, including Form 990s. Users can search for specific nonprofits and access their 990s for free by creating an account.

2. Foundation Center: The Foundation Center’s website also offers access to Form 990s through their 990 Finder tool. By searching for a nonprofit’s name, location, or EIN (Employer Identification Number), users can find and download the desired 990 document.

3. Nonprofit’s Website: Some nonprofits make their 990s readily available on their websites. Look for a “Financials” or “Transparency” section on the organization’s site, where you may find links to their most recent 990 filings.

4. State Charity Regulators: Many states require nonprofits to file their Form 990s with state charity regulators. Check your state’s charity regulator website to see if they provide access to these filings.

5. Public Libraries: Certain libraries, particularly those specializing in business or nonprofit resources, may have copies of Form 990s available for public access. Inquire with your local library to see if they can assist you in locating these documents.

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Q1. What is a Form 990, and why is it important?
A Form 990 is an annual information return filed by tax-exempt organizations with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the United States. It provides extensive information about the organization’s finances, governance, programs, and activities. This document is crucial for donors and researchers to evaluate a nonprofit’s financial health, transparency, and compliance with legal requirements.

Q2. Are all nonprofit organizations required to file Form 990?
Most nonprofit organizations, including charities, foundations, and religious organizations, are required to file Form 990. However, there are exceptions for certain small organizations whose annual gross receipts fall below a specific threshold. Additionally, governmental entities and some religious institutions may be exempt from filing.

Q3. How recent are the Form 990 filings available?
Form 990 filings are typically available for the past three years. Nonprofits must file their 990s by the 15th day of the fifth month after their fiscal year ends. For example, if a nonprofit’s fiscal year ends on December 31, they must file their 990 by May 15 of the following year.

Q4. Can I obtain older Form 990 filings?
While the most recent three years of Form 990 filings are readily available, older filings may require additional effort. The Foundation Center’s 990 Finder tool can be a valuable resource for accessing older filings. Additionally, contacting the nonprofit directly and requesting their older 990s may yield results.

Q5. How can I interpret a nonprofit’s Form 990?
Form 990 includes various sections that provide a comprehensive view of a nonprofit’s finances and operations. Pay attention to the organization’s revenue sources, expenses, salaries of key personnel, and information about their programs and achievements. It is also useful to compare multiple years of filings to identify trends and changes in the organization’s activities.

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Q6. Are there any alternatives to Form 990 for assessing a nonprofit’s transparency?
While Form 990 is a valuable resource, it is not the only tool available. Nonprofits may also publish annual reports, audited financial statements, and impact reports. These documents can provide additional insights into an organization’s transparency, impact, and financial stability.


Finding a nonprofit’s Form 990 is a crucial step for donors and researchers in assessing an organization’s financial health, transparency, and compliance. By utilizing platforms like Guidestar, the Foundation Center, and exploring other resources like state charity regulators and public libraries, you can easily access these documents. Remember to carefully review and analyze the Form 990 to gain a comprehensive understanding of the nonprofit’s operations and make informed decisions about your support or research.