Just like researching a business, to get a well rounded picture of a Nonprofit Organization or Foundation, it is good to look at the institution's financials, funding, and programming.
First use databases and directories to gather basic information on the target Foundation or Organization:
The Better Business Bureau Analyzes the financials of many charities and organizations.
http://search.bbb.org/ (National Charities)
http://stlouis.bbb.org/ (St. Louis Charities)
Foundation Directory Online Professional (In Library Use Only)
The Foundation Directory Online Professional provides access to an unprecedented wealth of timely, comprehensive information on grantmakers and their grants. Included is a database of over 92,000 foundations, corporate giving programs, and grantmaking public charities in the U.S.; a database of nearly 3,600 sponsoring companies, offering a quick pathway to corporate funders; a database of over 1.3 million recently awarded grants; and a keyword-searchable database of over 527,000 recently filed IRS Forms 990 and 990-PF.
The Foundation Directory
In Library Use Only: Call# NPR 361.06025 Foundation (at Spencer Road Branch)
Guidestar: Gives a brief overview of nonprofit organizations, including 990 access, financial information, and programs. Also, the Grants Explorer feature allows you to search for Foundations and shows which organizations it supports.
NonProfit Times Top 100:
The Top 100 Nonprofits are analyzed in this article by the Nonprofit Times
What's a 990? A 990 is a form that nonprofits have to file with the IRS. This file is a good way to see where a nonprofit is getting its funding and what the Organization is spending it on. One can also use the 990 to find contact information for the organizations' board members. One thing to note is that Organizations that make less than $9,000 do not have to file a 990 with the IRS, and therefore may not be listed.
For more information read "How to Read the 990 form" by the Nonprofit Coordinating committee of New York http://www.npccny.org/Form_990/990.htm
To get the 990 file search by Organization or Foundation name in the following databases:
NOZA Search: A Database of Charitable Donations (In Library Use Only)
Secretary of State Database:
Check local newspapers for events or other information related to the Organization:
Lexis-Nexis: Library Edition
This source can be used to find news articles, contact information, and credit ratings on the target organization.
St. Louis Business Journal: (Available on Proquest)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: (Available through the Library's Database)
Check the Nonprofit trade journals for any mentions and for industry trends:
Search by entering your nonprofit's name in the keyword search to find articles that mention your desired organization
Check the Web
When using the search engine, enter the organizations name and the state it is located in to narrow down the search.
(i.e. Spencer Road Branch AND Missouri)
Also, try typing in the name of the target organization with the limiter "SITE: org" to retrieve only WebPages that are supported by an organization and have the tag ".org".
(i.e. Spencer Road Branch SITE: org)