According to the IRS:
The list of donors filed with Form 990 is specifically excluded from the information available for public inspection, except for donors to private foundations and political organizations.
This means that trying to learn who has donated to a particular nonprofit can be challenging. However, some nonprofits may thank their donors, particularly major donors, in public documents, like annual reports, newsletters, or their web sites. But be aware that these donor lists may not be comprehensive or indicate the donation amount.
Foundation Center libraries and some Cooperating Collections subscribe to the following databases that can help in researching individual donations (check your nearest location for availability):
- DonorSearch: This database contains information on charitable and political contributions by individuals, foundations, and corporations.
Again, these resources will not necessarily be comprehensive for all nonprofits or donors since availability of data largely depends on how much information a nonprofit or donor will disclose voluntarily.
Foundation and corporate donations
Information on foundation and corporate donors typically is more accessible. Private foundations, including private corporate foundations, must publicly disclose all of their grants in their annual tax filings.
Direct corporate giving is not subject to the same public disclosure rules, but corporations might share who they support in order to build their community image.
You can research donations or grants from foundations and corporations with the following resources:
- Foundation Directory Online Professional provides information on nearly 2 million grants given by the 20,000 largest US foundation and corporate funders. You can find out what organization received the grant, the grant amount, and the subject/program areas it addressed. Subscribe to use it from your own computer, or visit Foundation Center libraries and Cooperating Collections to use it for free.
- Digital Grant Guides list grants awarded in 24 subject areas. Each Guide provides you with descriptions of hundreds—often thousands—of recent foundation grants of $10,000 or more, with hyperlinks to the funder’s information.
- Private foundations must list all grants authorized each in their annual Form 990-PF submitted to the IRS. At minimum, they must include the grantee’s name and the grant amount. Some foundations also briefly describe the grant’s purpose. More about Form 990-PF>>
- Web sites for foundations and corporate funders may have lists of recent grantees. Use Foundation Finder, our free online search, to find a grantmaker’s contact information, including URLs when available.
- Track nonprofit news or create web alerts (like Google Alerts) for grant notices from your nonprofits or donors of interest. Examples of news resources:
See also our related Knowledge Base articles:
- How can I learn about researching and cultivating individual donors?
- How can I find information about a particular (non-grantmaking) charity?
- Where can I find an organization’s Form 990 or 990-PF?
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