Ah, the Form 990. The little, but important, document that demonstrates to the IRS that your organization is playing by the rules. Is it just bothersome, or can it be used for something greater? The answer is yes! The 990 is an opportunity to tell your organization’s story. You can show potential donors, grantors or board members that your cause is worth their support.
For example, potential board members can look at your organization’s current board members, where your organization’s revenue comes from and what kind of money you have saved for a rainy day. Donors and grantors can use your Form 990 to view your accomplishments of the previous year, and the methods you used to achieve them, bringing clarity to your mission.
You’re probably thinking, ‘Yeah, we do this regularly.’
So how can you tailor these sections of the Form 990 to attract donors and grantors so your organization doesn’t miss a funding opportunity?
Partner with your CPA to enhance key sections of your 990! Here are some suggestions:
Part 1, Line 1 & Part 3, Line 1
: State your organization’s full mission
Part 3, Line 4:
Describe your individual programs and impact. It’s a good idea to at least list the three largest programs based on expenses in this section.
: Expand on the mission statement and programs. Include the programs that may not have made the top three from Part 3 of the form. You can also use this section to explain your answers from other sections, such as volunteer involvement, the process for reviewing and approving your organization’s 990 and the annual review process of important policies and procedures including conflict of interest.
Don’t use “See Schedule O” as your only answer for a section. It’s better to provide clear and brief descriptions for every section and direct them to Schedule O if they would like to learn more. The more an individual has to scroll through pages, the less likely they are to see the impact of your programs.