News and analysis
August 09, 2016

How to Find a Charity's Staff and Volunteers

Use this guide as a quick reference to find important information on nonprofit groups from the forms they’re required to file with the Internal Revenue Service. 

Most federally tax-exempt groups must complete a 990, a 990-EZ, or a 990-N. Churches and state organizations are exempt. (Foundations must file a 990-PF.) 

This guide shows where to find information in the 990, the 990-EZ, and any attached schedules. The 990-EZ is mentioned only where it covers a particular topic.

(The 990-N, filed by tiny groups, is essentially an e-postcard with only the most basic information.)

I want to know ...

… how many employees work for the charity.

    Go to the main Form 990, Part I, Line 5. 

… how many volunteers work for the charity.

    Go to Form 990, Part I, Line 6. This may be an estimate. It includes full- and part-time volunteers as well as volunteers who are part of the governing body. 

… where I can find a list of charity officials. 

    Go to Form 990, Part VII, Section A, which also includes officers, directors, and trustees as well as the highest-paid employees who made more than $100,000 of reportable compensation from the nonprofit and related organizations.

    Also included here is a list of former officers, key employees, and highest-compensated employees who made more than $100,000, as well as former directors or trustees who made more than $10,000 of reportable compensation from the nonprofit and related organizations.

Additional Information

See the resource section to find out where you can download charities’ tax forms and instructions, data on big grants and donations, and other information.

Organizations are required to file their 990s by the 15th day of the fifth month after the end of their fiscal year — so for groups that follow the calendar year, May 15. But nonprofits can get an automatic 90-day extension and may request a second one. So it’s common for a form due on May 15 not to be filed until mid-November. If a charity has filed its forms but they’re not yet available on a database like GuideStar or ProPublica, you may be able to get a copy sooner by contacting the nonprofit directly.

Most federally tax-exempt organizations must complete a 990 as a condition of their tax status. Churches and state organizations are exempt. 

Nonprofits that have gross receipts of less than $200,000 and total assets of less than $500,000 may file a Form 990-EZ, which requires less information than the full 990. Those that normally bring in less than $50,000 can file a 990-N e-postcard, which shows only very basic information, including the name and address of the group and the principle officer and confirmation of its gross receipts. 

The Chronicle’s 990 guides were compiled by Alex Daniels, Marilyn Dickey, Joshua Hatch, Megan O’Neil, Timothy Sandoval, and Eden Stiffman, with assistance from Lori Budnick, a CPA and partner at BlumShapiro, and Brian Mittendorf, a professor of accounting at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business.