Lesson #18 – Nonprofit GuideStar Profile and Lesson #19 Nonprofit Form 990

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Are you happy with the progress you are making with your chapter’s application writing activities? We are close to being done with the preparation components of the lessons and soon will be moving forward with the funding sources components. Today we are going to look at two very important issues, the Nonprofit GuideStar profile and your chapter’s nonprofit Form 990.

Lesson # 18 -Nonprofit GuideStar Profile

Many chapters have found their chapter’s profile on GuideStar and have updated it. One should go in at least once a year and update the chapter profile. And when you go into http://www.guidestar.org , you will find that the inputting system is significantly improved from a year ago. GuideStar does not charge for a nonprofit to update its profile.

GuideStar is a database filled with information about nonprofit organizations: public charities and public foundations. GuideStar obtains the information used in its database from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Each nonprofit has a profile on the GuideStar website at http://www.guidestar.org . GuideStar allows each organization to claim their profile and then to update and embellish the profile with more specific information. GuideStar does not have information about corporations.

How to Start
In order to use GuideStar, the committee member needs to create an account and log in for the chapter using the email username and password established in Lesson 1. Go to http://www.guidestar.org to start.

Claiming your Profile
Search for your nonprofit organization, when your chapter’s name comes up select the link and you will be in the chapter’s profile. GuideStar gets the information for your chapter’s profile from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

GuideStar Exchange
The GuideStar Exchange is an opportunity for you to show your organization’s commitment to transparency and communicate directly with your stakeholders —for FREE. GuideStar has several videos on their website on how a chapter can claim and update their profile. There are four levels of participation on GuideStar Exchange: Bronze, silver, gold and platinum participant level brings with it several benefits. The benefits have changed in that a nonprofit no longer can gain access to the foundations that grant monies as part of their GuideStar benefits.

Lesson 17 – Chapter Form 990

A nonprofit organization files a Form 990 (Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax). Form 990 is an information return that is filed annually. It is the mechanism used to communicate the organization’s financial information and activities to the IRS each year.
Funders will ask for Form 990s. Scan the chapter’s Form 990 document and place  it into a Dropbox sub-folder and into the hard files. Funders often ask for previous Form 990s. Putting at least the past two years in Dropbox  will help if one finds that more than one year is requested by the funder.

There are two main types of Form 990. Nonprofits file Form 990 and foundations file Form 990PF. Some members of the public rely on Form 990 or Form 990PF as their primary or sole source of information about a particular nonprofit organization. Form 990s are available for public inspection. You need to start looking at Form 990s for any funder you may think is going to have an opportunity for you to collaborate with. We will talk about this more in an upcoming post.

Catch me when you can and I will catch up with you soon! Sandie



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