Form 990: Beyond Financial Reporting
Donors (and potential donors), partners and monitoring groups often refer to a not-for-profit organization’s IRS Form 990 to get a sense of an organization’s financial position and governance structure. While the annual form reports economic information, it also provides insight into operations and activities, and gives a not-for-profit a chance to tell its story. This includes:
Executive compensation: The total compensation package of an organization’s highly compensated employees is included on Form 990. Sometimes these numbers may raise eyebrows among donors and watchdogs, but they should be viewed in the context of similar not-for-profits and the executives’ responsibilities compared to similar roles in the for-profit world.
Fundraising fees: Any costs the not-for-profit incurs during fundraising must be included on Form 990. Donors and watchdogs may compare this amount to the amount of money spent on programs.
Programs: This section will detail which specific programs are being delivered as a not-for-profit fulfills its mission. Donors and watchdogs may want to see how much of every dollar raised is going directly to programs compared to administrative costs.
Mission and vision: Some not-for-profit executives view Form 990 as simply a financial and tax reporting form, the narrative section presents an opportunity for not-for-profits to share their mission, vision, and values.
Savvy not-for-profits who know that donors may see Form 990, can use it to bolster their marketing and their image.
Let the not-for-profit professionals at Dembo Jones help you fill out IRS Form 990 so it accurately and positively represents you – and tells your story. Give us a call.