Smart Givers Blog
Donate to Charities Review Council
Sign up for our E-Newsletter
Search for organization to which you may donate a car or goods

Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook
Document Checklist for the Accountability Wizard

Participating in the Accountability Wizard requires you to upload several documents. All documents, except the most recent Form 990 and financial audit (if applicable), are for internal use only.

Required documents include:

IRS Form 1023 or 1024: Used to verify tax-exempt status and Public Information and Annual Reporting standard. The 1023 is the application for exempt status as a 501(c)(3) and the 1024 is the application for exempt status as a 501(c)(4) organization. Depending on your exempt status, either the 1023 or the 1024 is required to be available to the public upon request. This form is not required if exempt status was obtained before 7/15/1987.

IRS Letter of Exempt Status: Used to verify tax-exempt status.

IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ (Form 990T if applicable) 3 most recent years available: Used to verify Public Disclosure and Financial Activity section standards.  Your organization is legally required to file a 990 with the IRS. There are a few exceptions, so if your organization does not file a 990 or a 990-EZ, please contact the Council. The Form 990T is for taxable income. * The Form 990 will be made available to the public in the online review report.

Audited Financial Statement (If applicable): Used to verify Financial Transparency standard. An independently audited financial statement with an unqualified opinion is needed if required by state law or if your organization’s annual revenue exceeds $750,000. If your organization is not required to complete an audit, review can be completed without one. *The audited financials will be made available to the public in the online review report.

Bylaws: Used to verify Board Length of Service and Board Meetings standards. Our standards require that quorum is met for at least 4 meetings, board term length is less than 5 years, and that term limits exist.

Board Meeting Minutes:  (for most recent fiscal year completed and year to date) Used to verify Governance and Financial Activity section standards. Your organization can submit redacted minutes if it feels information in the minutes needs to be confidential. Our use is internal only.

Board Roster: Used to verify Separation of Roles standard. Our standard requires that not more than one voting member is a paid staff person, no paid staff person serves as board chair, and no board member is simultaneously chair and treasurer.

Current Operating Budget: Used to verify Board Fiduciary Oversight standard. Our standard requires that an annual budget is approved by the board of directors within one month of the beginning of the fiscal year.

Conflict of Interest Policy: Used to verify Conflict of Interest Policy standard. Our standard requires that the policy addresses both board and key staff, and includes a definition of a conflict, a disclosure and recusal process, a procedure for annual disclosure, and an annual disclosure form.  (If your organization does not currently have a  policy, one can be adopted during the review process. Conflict of Interest Template. )

Financial Report: (example of report received by the Board): Used to verify Board Fiduciary Oversight standard. Our standard requires that the board of directors receives financial reports which compare actual to budgeted income and expense.  Example of Financial Report

Whistleblower Policy: Used to verify Whistleblower Policy standard. Our standard requires that the policy includes a procedure for reporting, ensure confidentiality of reportee, and contain a non-retaliation clause. (If your organization does not currently have a  policy, one can be adopted during the review process. Sample Whistleblower Policy )

Document Retention Policy: Used to verify Document Retention Policy standard. Our standard requires that the policy provides clear timelines for the retention of key governing, legal, audit, and financial documents.  (If your organization does not currently have a  policy, one can be adopted during the review process. Sample Document Retention Policy)

Travel & Entertainment Reimbursement Policy: Used to verify Travel & Entertainment Reimbursement Policy standard. Our standard requires that the policy includes a definition of reasonable expenses, a process for documenting expenses, and a procedure for reimbursement. (If your organization does not currently have a  policy, one can be adopted during the review process.

Sample Solicitation Letters & Fundraising Materials: Used to verify Fundraising Disclosures standard. Required if your organization sends out solicitation letters/fundraising materials to the public (or online). Solicitations include the following information: name of your organization, address/phone number, purpose/program for which the funds will be used, declaration of the tax deductibility of a contribution.

Discontinue Contact Policy: Used to verify Donor Privacy standard. Our standard requires that the policy states that upon a person’s “written or oral request” to the charity, its professional fundraiser or other agent, contact will be discontinued. (If your organization does not currently have a  policy, one can be adopted during the review process. Discontinue Contact Policy Template )

Donor Privacy Policy: Used to verify Donor Privacy standard. Our standard requires that the policy describes how donor information is collected and used, and allows donors to “opt-out” of having his/her private information shared or made public. (If your organization does not currently have a  policy, one can be adopted during the review process.

Professional Fundraiser Contracts (if applicable): Used to verify Soliciting Practices standard.Only required if your organization is engaging the services of a professional fundraiser (includes grant writers).Used to verify that contract exists.

Professional Fundraiser Registration with the Attorney General’s Office (if applicable): Used to verify Soliciting Practices standard. Only required if your organization is engaging the services of a professional fundraiser (includes grant writers). Used to verify that the professional fundraiser is registered.

Professional Fundraiser  Tele-fundraising Scripts (if applicable): Used to verify Soliciting Practices standard. Only required if your organization is engaging the services of a professional fundraiser in its telephone fundraising appeals. Used to verify that the solicitor identifies him/herself as a professional fundraiser, provides the name and address of charitable organization, gives a description of the program for which the contribution will be used, and declares the tax deductibility of a contribution.

Cause-Related Marketing Materials (if applicable): Used to verify Soliciting Practices standard. Only required if your organization engages in cause-related marketing. Used to verify that materials clearly communicate the amount passed on to the organization.

Board Resolution (optional): Resolution signed by the Board acknowledging its adherence to the Accountability Standards. Board Resolution Form