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
Public Information & Annual Reporting

The end of the year is just around the corner, which means for many organizations it is time to reflect on this year's accomplishments and make plans for next year. You are likely pondering your next annual report as well.

While many of the elements in your annual communication satisfy legal or suggested public disclosure requirements, it is also a valuable tool to re-connect with current supporters and engage new ones.

An annual report (whether it is in print or on the web) promotes informed and responsible philanthropy. Donors are better able to make decisions when they can learn

  • a nonprofit’s purpose,
  • who governs it,
  • how it manages financial resources,
  • whom it serves, and
  • what progress it has made toward achieving its mission.

So as you begin to craft moving stories for your next annual report, make sure you also refer to the Council’s Public Information & Annual Reporting standard to ensure you include what is reasonably expected by your donors as well. 


Public Information & Annual Reporting Standard:

The nonprofit complies with the legal requirements for public disclosure of the following:

  • Three years of IRS form 990, 990-EZ or 990T;
  • IRS Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501c3 of the Internal Revenue Code

The nonprofit also provides the following information on an annual basis:

  • Mission statement
  • List of the board of directors
  • Annual financial statements, prepared in conformance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
  • Summary of the total cost of each major program and the nonprofit’s fundraising and administrative costs, as defined by either GAAP or IRS guidance for completing IRS Form 990
  • Description of its programs, activities and accomplishments in relation to its mission for at least the most recent fiscal year
  • Description of the communities or populations and geographic area served

If the nonprofit has a website, it also includes the above information, preferably in one place.