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Donor Information

Online Resources

The following resources are listed for your convenience and reference only, and should not be considered an endorsement by the Department of Financial Institutions. We believe these links may be helpful; however, the Department of Financial Institutions is not responsible for the content or accuracy of these websites.

Federal Government:

Internal Revenue Service: www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits

  • Search for a charitable organization to find out if a charity is exempt from federal taxation and if your contribution is tax-deductible.

Federal Trade Commission, National Do Not Call Registry: www.donotcall.gov

  • Register for the National Do Not Call Registry. Note: charitable organizations are exempt from the Do Not Call Registry.

Federal Trade Commission: www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0011-charity-scams

  • Find information to help you avoid charity scams.

State Government:

Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions: www.wdfi.org/CharitableOrganizations/default.htm

  • Search the state database for charitable organizations that are registered to solicit contributions in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Department of Revenue, Tax Operation Bureau: www.revenue.wi.gov/faqs/pcs/n-profit.html

  • Find information about what types of organizations qualify for an exemption from sales and use tax on purchases.

Wisconsin Department of Administration, Division of Gaming: www.doa.state.wi.us/Divisions/Gaming

  • Find information about the bingo and raffle licenses that charitable organizations need to obtain before having a bingo or raffle event.

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: nocall.wisconsin.gov/web/home.asp

Charity Watchdogs:

Better Business Bureau: www.bbb.org

  • A private, nonprofit organization that aids consumers and business by supplying reports on the reliability of companies and charities. The BBB also provides information about scams and fraudulent business behavior.

Better Business Bureau, Wise Giving Alliance: www.give.org

  • Provides information about specific charities, has tips and advice for giving, and offers a Wise Giving Guide.

Charity Navigator: www.charitynavigator.org

  • A private, independent organization that evaluates and provides ratings and review on over 5,300 charities after assessing the financial health of these charities.

Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability: www.ecfa.org

  • An accreditation agency which helps Christian, nonprofit organizations establish standards for financial accountability, fundraising and board governance.

Foundation Center: www.foundationcenter.org

  • The center maintains a comprehensive database for basic information about private and community foundations in the U.S.

GuideStar: www.guidestar.org

  • View copies of an organization's IRS 990 information returns. GuideStar provides information on the programs, activities and finances of more than 640,000 nonprofit organizations.

Ministry Watch: www.ministrywatch.com

  • An independent donor advocate facilitating the information needs of donors and offering an online database that profiles faith-based charities and includes reports on nonprofit ministries.

National Center for Charitable Statistics, The Urban Institute: www.nccs.urban.org

  • NCCS is a national clearinghouse of data on the nonprofit sector in the U.S.

National Philanthropic Trust: www.nptrust.org

  • A public charity that provides various resources to donors.

Other Resources:

Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinics - The Marquette Legal Initiative for Nonprofit Corporations (M-LINC) provides free brief legal advice for qualifying Wisconsin nonprofits and organizations seeking tax exempt status.

How to Read the New IRS Form 990 by Peter Swords, former Executive Director of the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee. This article will help you understand what information reported on a charitable organizations IRS 990 filing means.

Donor Bill of Rights Developed by the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, and the Giving Institute.