How to Leverage Form 990 to Build Stakeholder Trust

Leverage Form 990? Really?

What is a commonly neglected marketing tool? It’s your IRS Form 990. IRS Form 990 is more than just a tax form that many nonprofits must file every year. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate to the IRS, as well as to current and potential stakeholders, that your organization is well-run and financially sustainable. It is also an opportunity to showcase key mission-centric programs.

What is Form 990?

IRS Form 990 is your organization’s tax return. Because your nonprofit has exempt status you don’t have to pay taxes (with one possible exception). BUT you do have to file a tax return. Why? Because the IRS still wants to make sure you are running your organization properly and in line with its tax-exempt purpose. Be aware that there are instances where your nonprofit may owe taxes if the IRS deems certain income unrelated to your tax-exempt purpose. It is also public information and, if completed correctly, can become another tool you can use to promote confidence in your organization and convince donors that funding your nonprofit will effectively support your mission. All you need to do is put some time and effort into a few of the informational disclosures.

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