5 ways to use the Form 990 to target funding

Feb 07, 2012

Aug 31, 2011

An organization’s Form 990 can be a valuable tool for grant applicants to target foundations that are the best prospects for soliciting support. The form can help determine an ask amount, glean information about submission guidelines, or identify trustees and staff contacts.

A foundation’s Form 990 can be used to help learn about the following:

  1. Contact information, such as the foundation’s exact name, address, phone number and website. 
  2. Assets. The amount of grant a foundation can make is determined by the size of its assets. 
  3. Annual grants usually equal about 5% of fair market value (FMV). 
  4. Even though FMV is always outdated by the time a recipient sees it, information about asset classes gives broad indications of how well the foundation is doing today. 
  5. How an organization invests its money also yields clues as to its organizational culture.