Do US charities have public accounts?
October 3, 2008 5:05 AM   Subscribe

How can I, as a UK citizen, get to see what a US charity is spending its money on? Do US Charities have to make their accounts public?

I'm not after knowing how much the director gets, or how much they spend on paperclips every year, but the public line of "we spend 10% on admin and the rest on doing good" isn't filling me with confidence. How do I get a better idea of what they're doing with the other 90% when the charity themselves is ignoring my requests for the data?
posted by twine42 to Work & Money (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yep, there's a bunch of sites are out there, here's one.
posted by jourman2 at 5:26 AM on October 3, 2008

Response by poster: What do I need to search for on Google to find more of them? The charity I'm interested in isn't listed on that one...

[ and why wouldn't it be listed...? ]
posted by twine42 at 5:56 AM on October 3, 2008

google: "charity financial statistics" -- seems to have a few good leads in the results.

Which charity are you interested in?
posted by GPF at 6:00 AM on October 3, 2008

CharityNavigator only has a tiny subset of nonprofits listed.

I always use GuideStar, which has the tax filings of any group that has filed a 990 (the tax form American nonprofits file). You have to sign up for an account but it is a reputable organization and everyone who works in nonprofits uses it all the time to research foundations, competitors, etc.
posted by bcwinters at 6:08 AM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

You can also use the Foundation Center's 990 Finder, which is free and requires no registration.
posted by clerestory at 6:45 AM on October 3, 2008

Response by poster: cheers guys... just knowing the number 990 helped my search a hell of a lot.

The data I wanted was hidden deep in the recesses of their site, with no way to find it if you didn't know that magic number or how to use google's domain specific search...
posted by twine42 at 2:25 PM on October 5, 2008

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