This question surfaces once or twice a year. Volunteers working on school auctions seem to ask me the most often.
A parent tasked with getting donations for the school gala becomes concerned about whether she should be including the school’s PTA tax ID number on the school auction donation letter and other relevant forms.
It’s easy to understand her concern.
We’ve been warned about putting our birth date on Facebook and cautioned against using our social security number as a computer password. (Do you remember when our social security number was used as our driver’s license number?) Stories of identity theft fuel our fear.
Your charity’s tax ID number is available in the public domain, so don’t worry about whether the number should or shouldn’t be on the donation letter and form.
It SHOULD be.
And you’ll have greater success in your procurement efforts if you include the number on your letters.
If you don’t know the number, here’s an easy way to locate it.
1. Visit www.Guidestar.org and log-in. You’ll need to create an account (it’s free) if you don’t have one. You can look up some information without an account, but you’ll need it for this task.
2. Enter the name of the charity you want to find. The easy-to-use screen will help you narrow down your search.
3. Click on the organization you seek. The page will load with a number of publicly filed forms. Click on “Forms 990s and Docs” tab. The 990 forms are in PDF format.
4. Open the most recent 990 PDF and find the entry underneath “Employer Identification Number.” (I’ve always seen it in the upper right side of the first page.) Voila! That’s the tax ID number which defines your organization as a 501(c)(3).
I’ve also been told that you can look it up on the IRS site. That makes sense to me, but as I’ve always been able to find what I needed on Guidestar, I haven’t fooled around with the IRS site.
If you’ve found an easy way to locate the tax ID number for your school auction donation letters or forms, please share it below.
patrina robey says
Good ideas ! Coincidentally , people require a IA DPH Patient Care Report , my colleague used a blank document here http://pdf.ac/43c7h6
Sherry Truhlar says
okay I am correcting myself… I found the article I was reading and it did NOT say the EIN number is for profit and non profits… it said the TAX NUMBER was for both. Sorry! And thanks again for all the helpful info!!
Sherry Truhlar says
Whew! Glad to get all that straight. Amazing how sometimes the littlest things can consume our time, isn’t it!
Thanks for the helpful info. I am a volunteer for a non profit animal rescue. The president gave me the necessary paperwork but there are numbers all over the place, so I was not sure if the the EIN was her 501c3 number. When I googled it I found an article that said BOTH profit and non profit organizations are given an EIN. So then I thought well if profit organizations are given an EIN then why would the EIN number identify someone as a non profit. I’m still a little confused about that part but from what I can see in your article, the EIN is the number they are looking for when they say they need your 501c3 number. Thank you.
Gayle L. GIfford says
One more thing I love about you… you never underestimate how important it is to share what seems to natural to organizations with more experience.
Another site that you can use to find 990s without registering is The Foundation Center’s 990s finder.
Sherry Truhlar says
As I think about it, 50 percent of my audience are professional planners / development directors. They know their 501(c)(3) number (or know where it is).
But the other half of my community are volunteers, usually working on school auctions. They start working on an auction, realize their donations will be more successful if they have that number … but then they don’t know it nor know how to get it! Hence, the blog post. 🙂