Nonprofit Organizations

990 Data Is Back Plus Other Updates

June 27, 2023  • Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation

A Roundup of Nonprofit Data News in 2023’s First Half

PSI is excited to share some positive updates from the nonprofit data world.

990 Data Is Back

After several years of delays and other complications in the processing and posting of 990 data, the IRS recently uploaded close to a million filings to its website from the past few years — the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

PSI’s Nonprofit Open Data Collective, including leading members of the U.S. nonprofit community, submitted comments to the IRS in late 2022 detailing the impact of 990 backlogs on nonprofit fundraising, management and compliance. The Collective called for more regular, complete and consistent 990 information. It is gratifying to see these long-awaited nonprofit returns released to the public.

In early June, an article by Andrea Suozzo of ProPublica (a participant in the Collective) announced an extensive update to the site’s Nonprofit Explorer as a result of the new tax records released by the IRS. Scholars, nonprofits, state charity regulators and charity platforms are already digging into these latest returns to help donors, and better understand how nonprofits coped during a period of significant challenges.

While the lack of information and transparency in these recent years has been extremely difficult, PSI is hopeful that the cornucopia of 990s provided by the IRS marks an improvement in the release of more consistent and regular 990 data.

Nonprofit Employment and Wage Data Advances

The Nonprofit Data Project of the Aspen Institute has been working for over a decade to ensure regular nonprofit employment and wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (with appreciation for partners at Johns Hopkins, particularly the late Lester Salamon, and colleagues at George Mason who continue this work). While the Nonprofit Data Project was successful in getting BLS to agree to release nonprofit employment and wage data every five years, the sector needs — and deserves — to be on par with other sectors of the economy that are given such information quarterly.

PSI is happy to report in Congress: Senators Reed and Whitehouse submitted FY24 program requests for funding to enable BLS to include nonprofit organizations as a distinct category of employer. This is only the beginning of a long journey towards the goal of quarterly data, but it is a critical step.

Read this joint letter from PSI, Independent Sector, National Council of Nonprofits, Council on Foundations, Association of Fundraising Professionals and United Philanthropy Forum urging Congressional leaders to provide BLS with the funding necessary to include nonprofit workforce data in the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages.

Bipartisan Legislation

PSI is proud to support important new bipartisan legislation introduced in Congress in May. The Nonprofit SEAT Act would strengthen the sector and improve collaboration between the federal government and nonprofits. It also calls for several policies that PSI and our partners have promoted for many years:

  • Accessible, useable and timely nonprofit tax data from the IRS.
  • Quarterly updates of nonprofit employment and wage data from BLS.
  • A new Bureau of Economic Analysis satellite account to measure the nonprofit sector’s broad impact — including volunteer work — on the nation’s economy.

These components of the bill would give Americans a better view into how nonprofits help power their communities and the country, and give nonprofits better tools to help those in need. Learn more about the bill at Independent Sector.

This is a significant moment for the Nonprofit Open Data Collective and its members. Together, we’re making significant strides in our efforts to help provide a clearer picture of the nonprofit sector to the public, policymakers and nonprofits themselves. PSI is grateful for the Collective’s support and work.

For more information, contact Cinthia Schuman Ottinger at