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I have done several non-profit organization 990 reports over past several years.  As we come up on the May 15th\ deadline for filing these reports I am reminded that the non-profits must keep on file a copy of the report in case the public wants to view the information. The information contained in the report is public knowledge except for the names of the donors. Everything from the officer’s salary to any expenses is open to the public.  I remember a few years ago when the American Red Cross and the United Way was in the news over the amount the organizations spent on officers salary.  I even went to a local electric co-op board meeting three years ago and there was a discussion over how much money the President of the Co-op was making. The discussions to say the least was heated. 

The non-profit must disclose to the IRS on how the organization will make the report available to the public. Before giving to a Charity, you can go to websites such as Charity Navigator (charitynavigator.org) to look up major charities to see how they rank as a 501 3(c) organization.  I am sure there are others evaluation websites. Remember to give generously but wisely.

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