This article lists resources for researching an organization's individual and foundation donors.

 

Individual donations

There is no comprehensive source of information that reveals who gives to a specific charity, because the IRS does not require most nonprofits to tell you where their donations come from. The exceptions are donors to private foundations and political organizations.

This means that trying to learn who has donated to a particular nonprofit can be challenging. Some nonprofits might thank their donors, particularly major donors, in places like annual reports, newsletters, or their web sites. But these sources might not be comprehensive--a big donor, for example, could request anonymity--and they might not tell you how much a donor gave.

Foundation Center libraries and some Funding Information Network locations subscribe to databases that can help in researching individual donors.

Check your nearest location for availability.

Again, the data in these resources largely depend on how much information a nonprofit or donor is willing to make public.

Because the IRS requires public disclosure of donors who have contributed to private foundations, you can find that information in the "Who's Who" section of the grantmaker profile on Foundation Directory Online (FDO). You can also enter a person's name in FDO's "Who's Who" search filter.

Subscribe to use FDO from your own location or visit Foundation Center libraries and Funding Information Network locations to use it for free.

Foundation and corporate donations

Finding the private foundations that give money to a particular nonprofit is much easier to research. Private foundations, including private corporate foundations, must publicly disclose all of their grants in their annual tax filings.

You can use Foundation Directory Online to research foundations and see which nonprofits they give grants to. If you're interested in a specific nonprofit or grantmaker, enter it in the Organization Name field. You can also do a general search by subject and geography. All types of foundations, including corporate foundations, will appear in your results.

But you won't find all corporate giving that way. If a corporation gives money to a nonprofit directly rather than through a corporate foundation, it is not subject to public disclosure rules. FDO simplifies your search by providing information on more than 7,500 of these corporate giving programs. Type "Corporate Giving Programs" into the Organization Type field and click on corresponding box below. You will also see a list of nonprofits that received funds from these programs.

Some other resources for finding out about donations to a particular nonprofit:

  • Forms 990: 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. Keep in mind that much of this information is already incorporated into FDO.
  • Web sites for foundations and corporate funders may have lists of recent grantees. Use Foundation Directory Online, our search tool, to find a private foundation's contact information, including web addresses when available.
  • Track nonprofit news or create web alerts (like Google Alerts) for grant notices from your nonprofits or donors of interest. Examples of nonprofit news resources:
  • --Philanthropy News Digest
  • --Chronicle of Philanthropy
  • --More nonprofit news can be found in our various free newsletters

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?

More articles on individual donors

More resources on corporate giving

More resources on researching foundation donors

Topic(s) Find Foundation Donors Find Individual Donors Trust & Transparency

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