How to Look Up Non Profit Financials


How to Look Up Nonprofit Financials

Nonprofit organizations play a crucial role in society, addressing various social issues and providing assistance to those in need. However, in order to ensure transparency and accountability, it is essential for nonprofits to make their financial information available to the public. If you are interested in learning about a nonprofit’s financial health and how they manage their funds, this article will guide you on how to look up nonprofit financials.

Why is it important to look up nonprofit financials?

Looking up nonprofit financials is important for several reasons:

1. Transparency: Nonprofits should be transparent about how they manage their finances, as they often rely on public support and donations. By providing access to their financial information, nonprofits establish trust with their stakeholders.

2. Accountability: Donors and the public have the right to know how their contributions are being utilized. Examining nonprofit financials allows you to determine if the organization is using its funds efficiently and responsibly.

3. Impact assessment: Nonprofit financial statements provide insights into how effectively an organization is achieving its mission. By assessing financial information, you can evaluate the nonprofit’s overall impact and determine if their efforts align with your values and goals.

How to look up nonprofit financials:

1. IRS Form 990: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires most tax-exempt organizations to file Form 990 annually. This form provides detailed financial information about the nonprofit, including revenue sources, expenses, program activities, and executive compensation. You can access Form 990 through various websites, such as Guidestar and Foundation Center.

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2. Nonprofit organization websites: Many nonprofits publish their financial statements on their websites. Look for sections like “About Us” or “Financials” to find annual reports, audited financial statements, or IRS filings. These documents offer insights into the organization’s financial health and how they allocate their resources.

3. State charity regulators: In the United States, state charity regulators often require nonprofits to file financial reports. These reports are publicly available and can be accessed through the regulator’s website or by contacting their office directly. Some states also provide databases where you can search for specific nonprofits and view their financial information.

4. Nonprofit rating websites: Several websites, such as Charity Navigator and BBB Wise Giving Alliance, evaluate and rate nonprofits based on their financial health, transparency, and accountability. These platforms provide a summary of a nonprofit’s financials and offer ratings that can help you assess their credibility.


1. What should I look for in nonprofit financials?
When reviewing nonprofit financials, pay attention to key information such as revenue sources, expenses, program expenses versus administrative costs, executive compensation, and any significant changes or trends over time. Look for a balance between programmatic spending and administrative costs to ensure efficient use of funds.

2. Are there any red flags to watch out for?
Some red flags to watch out for include excessive executive compensation, a significant portion of funds spent on administrative expenses, a high percentage of fundraising costs compared to program expenses, or consistent deficits over multiple years. These signs may indicate potential mismanagement or inefficiencies.

3. How can I interpret financial ratios and indicators?
Financial ratios and indicators can help you assess a nonprofit’s financial health. Some common ratios to consider are program efficiency ratio (program expenses divided by total expenses), fundraising efficiency ratio (fundraising expenses divided by total contributions), and liquidity ratios (current assets divided by current liabilities). Compare these ratios to industry benchmarks or previous years’ data to gain a better understanding of the nonprofit’s financial performance.

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4. What if the nonprofit does not provide financial information?
If a nonprofit does not provide financial information, it may be a cause for concern. Transparent organizations should readily disclose their financials to the public. Consider reaching out to the nonprofit directly to request the information or seek alternative nonprofits that are more open about their financial activities.

In conclusion, looking up nonprofit financials is crucial for transparency, accountability, and making informed donation decisions. By accessing IRS filings, nonprofit websites, state charity regulators, and nonprofit rating websites, you can gain valuable insights into a nonprofit’s financial health and ensure your contributions are being used effectively. Remember to review financial statements, pay attention to red flags, and interpret financial ratios to make a well-informed assessment.