FAQs: Financial Data

  1. Where do you get the financial data?

    Financial information is digitized from the Form 990 images we receive from the IRS. Only 990s received from the IRS are digitized.

  2. What do you mean when you say 990 data is "digitized"?

    Copies of the 990 images are sent to a contractor, who types the values from the forms into an electronically accessible file. This information is then uploaded to the GuideStar database.

  3. How many 990 fields are digitized?

    On average, 300 fields per return.

  4. How do I know the information has been digitized accurately?

    Every numerical valued displayed on the GuideStar site is entered twice, and any disparity between entered values is reconciled. GuideStar Quality Assurance staff regularly monitors the accuracy of this "double-keyed" data. The numerical fields in the GuideStar database are captured accurately at the 99.9 percent level.

  5. Does GuideStar ever alter the financial data found on the 990s?

    Although we occasionally correct obvious mathematical errors, the overall objective of our data capture program is to capture values for each Form 990 or Form 990-EZ exactly as they were input by the organization or paid preparer. Further, after more than six years of digitizing charities' returns, we have found that charities infrequently make errors on the major financial sections of their Forms 990. GuideStar's Quality Assurance staff has found organization-entry errors in only 0.2 percent of the fields entered. In 30 percent of these cases, such errors resulted from a preparer's failure to transfer a value, which had been established elsewhere on the document, into a required field (leaving the field blank) and did not reflect erroneous data or suggest any intention to misinform.

  6. I'm a GuideStar Premium subscriber; how many years of financial data can I view?

    All that are available. At this time, we have at least one year of digitized information for around 300,000 public charities, and multiple years' data available for most of them.

  7. Can I access private foundations' financial data on your site?

    No; we do not make private foundations' financial information available in their GuideStar Reports. You can, however, purchase a custom data set of private foundation data. More information

  8. Do you have digitized data for the 340,000 exempt organizations you added to your database on June 1, 2005?

    On June 1, 2005, GuideStar added 340,000 nonprofits that are exempt but not eligible to accept tax-deductible contributions.

    GuideStar digitizes information for those non-501(c)(3) organizations whose annual revenues are $1 million or higher.

  9. I need several years' worth of 990 information for several public charities. Is there some way I could get all the data at once?

    Rather than going into each organization's GuideStar Nonprofit Report and clicking each year in the "Financials" tab, you can purchase a custom nonprofit list. More information >