How to Look up a Nonprofit


How to Look up a Nonprofit: A Comprehensive Guide


Nonprofit organizations play a vital role in addressing various social issues, providing support, and creating positive change in communities. Whether you’re a potential donor, volunteer, or simply curious about a particular nonprofit, it’s essential to know how to effectively look up and gather information about them. In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to look up a nonprofit organization, along with some frequently asked questions (FAQs) to enhance your understanding.

Step 1: Determine the Purpose of Your Search

Before diving into the process, it’s important to identify the purpose behind your search for a nonprofit. Are you interested in donating, volunteering, or seeking assistance? This clarity will help you refine your search and save time.

Step 2: Use Online Databases

To start your search, online databases dedicated to nonprofit organizations are a valuable resource. Websites like GuideStar, Charity Navigator, and the Foundation Center offer comprehensive information on nonprofits, including their mission, finances, and impact. Simply visit these websites, enter the name or location of the nonprofit you’re interested in, and browse through the provided data.

Step 3: Check Government Databases

In addition to online databases, government resources can provide valuable insights into nonprofit organizations. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides a search tool called “Exempt Organizations Select Check,” allowing you to verify the tax-exempt status of a nonprofit. This tool also provides access to Form 990, which contains financial information about the organization.

Step 4: Visit the Nonprofit’s Website

Once you’ve gathered general information about the nonprofit, it’s time to visit their official website. Nonprofits often have detailed websites that showcase their mission, programs, success stories, and ways to get involved. Exploring their website will give you a deeper understanding of their work, values, and impact.

See also  How Can We Help Homeless People in Our Community

Step 5: Engage with Social Media

Social media platforms have become powerful tools for nonprofits to engage with their supporters and share information. Look for the nonprofit on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. By following their social media accounts, you can stay updated on their latest activities, events, and campaigns.

Step 6: Research News and Publications

Conducting a quick search on news websites and publications can provide you with valuable insights into a nonprofit’s recent activities, achievements, and potential controversies. This step will help you understand the organization’s reputation and impact within the community.


Q1: How can I determine if a nonprofit is legitimate?

A: To ensure a nonprofit’s legitimacy, you can verify their tax-exempt status through the IRS’s “Exempt Organizations Select Check.” Additionally, review their financial information, annual reports, and ratings on reputable platforms like GuideStar or Charity Navigator.

Q2: How can I find information about a nonprofit’s impact?

A: Nonprofits often provide impact reports, success stories, and testimonials on their websites. These resources can give you a clear picture of the organization’s achievements and the difference they are making in the community.

Q3: What should I consider when evaluating a nonprofit’s financial information?

A: When analyzing a nonprofit’s financial information, pay attention to their revenue sources, expenses, and the percentage of funds allocated towards programs versus administrative costs. Assessing their financial stability and transparency is crucial to ensure your donation will be used effectively.

Q4: Can I volunteer for a nonprofit even if I can’t donate money?

A: Absolutely! Nonprofits rely on volunteers to support their work. Visit the nonprofit’s website or contact them directly to inquire about volunteer opportunities. Your time and skills can make a significant impact.

See also  How Does a Non Profit Organization Work

Q5: Are there any alternatives to online databases and government resources for researching nonprofits?

A: Yes, you can reach out to your local library or community foundation for assistance in gathering information about nonprofits. They often have resources and knowledgeable staff who can guide you in your search.


Looking up a nonprofit organization is an essential step in ensuring your time, money, or skills are utilized effectively. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can find comprehensive information about nonprofits, understand their impact, and make informed decisions about involvement. Remember to verify their legitimacy, explore their website, engage with their social media, and research their financial information. By doing so, you will be better equipped to support nonprofits that align with your values and interests.