Philanthropically minded people often want information that goes beyond a “good feeling” when they write a check to a church, shelter or youth group or an organization working in an issue area they support, such as voter education or animal rights.
Many donors, especially those who are planning large gifts, want to know how to make their gifts more effective or to fill gaps in funding. Foundations want to ensure their grants abide by IRS regulations.
Several online providers can meet these needs.
GuideStar encourages nonprofits to share complete information about charitable organizations. On its website, GuideStar provides information on some 1.8 million U.S. nonprofit organizations to help those interested in more traditional giving.
Users can get current data about nonprofits and write a review of a charity (if one is not a paid employee). And GuideStar allows any nonprofit entity in its database to update its report with information about its mission, programs, leaders, goals, accomplishments and needs—for free.
Foundation Source’s GrantSafe
IRS regulations require private foundations to verify that a 501(c)(3) public charity is currently in good standing with the IRS before making a grant. Foundations are subject to penalties up to 20% of the amount of each grant made to organizations no longer recognized by the IRS as public charities because their nonprofit status has been revoked.
The most accurate and comprehensive source for this information is the IRS Business Master File. Foundation Source recently rolled out GrantSafe, a proprietary technology that makes the complicated BMF database easy to use in order to confirm the status of any public charity.
Type in an organization’s name or tax number, and a green check mark or red “X” instantly indicates its status. Foundations can also print out or save a date-stamped Validation Certificate for their files, as required by the IRS.