Researching a U.S. Nonprofit

Registration Records

Nonprofit organizations register with the state government and this registration, similar to companies’ registrations, is most easily discovered by using Open Corporates. Alternatively one can find this information on the individual state government website. State databases for nonprofits are listed on Open Corporates’ list of registers.

In a nonprofit’s registration record, one can expect to find the names of directors/officers, a postal address, and the lawyer that was hired to register the nonprofit. Various other information may also be included in the record depending on the state where it was registered.

Tax Filings

The tax filings for most nonprofit organizations are publicly available at IRS.gov, but one is better off using Propublica’s Nonproft Explorer or Guidestar. The tax forms include the names of board members, key employees, their compensation, services rendered, and contractors used by the nonprofit.

This screenshot is an example of how Propublica’s Nonprofit Explorer displays tax information for one organization . This record is partially obscured for privacy.

This information is a summary of the tax record. To read all of the data (including the names of people involved in the nonprofit) one can click on the “990-T” button on the left.

See my other article for more in-depth research on non-profit tax filings and fraud.

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