Explore area nonprofits
How to know if an organization is a good fit for your gift
For many of us, we give to a project or organization because we have passion or feel a connection to the work they do. We also want to know we are giving to a reputable, well-run and solvent organization. The big question is: How do you know when a nonprofit is well-run and solvent? At a minimum, you can look at a nonprofit’s public financial record, and at a maximum you can interview the executive director and/or Board Members.
The nonprofit on paper
We examine IRS Form 990 filings, financial audits, annual reports, news coverage and the organization’s website. We also will look at grant applications that are in the public domain.
The nonprofit in person
Also known as: the site visit. Program staff spend 60 percent of their time in the field, on site visits, meeting with nonprofits, seeing their work in action, and learning about the health of their programs and their organization leadership. To better understand a nonprofit, we often talk with third parties in a position to have a perspective, such as: other nonprofits that share or refer clients; other funders; community members; stakeholders: and clients.
The nonprofit’s governance
We ask questions about and look closely at the health of the nonprofit’s leadership—the success and effectiveness of the executive director, as well as the involvement and commitment of the Board of Directors.
Interested in coming along on a site visit? Contact us to let us know your interest.
Do your own research
Evaluate whether a particular nonprofit organization is a good fit for your charitable objectives using the tools below.
- Internal Revenue Service Pub. 78
- Napa Valley Coalition of Nonprofit Agencies
- Charity Navigator
- BBB Wise Giving Alliance
- Chronicle of Philanthropy
- Local papers
- Napa County Health Needs Assessment
We offer resources for giving:
- Grant recommendation form (PDF)
- Tip sheet for recommending a grant (PDF)
- Gift instruction letter for stock/shares (PDF)
- Gift instruction letter for cash (PDF)
- Charitable bequest sample language (PDF)
- Investment policy (PDF)
- Endowment spending policy (PDF)
- Investment pool worksheet (PDF)
- Funds and fees (PDF)
- 2012 Investment Report for Donors (PDF)
- 2010 Donor Survey (PDF)
- Donor's guide for site visits (PDF)
- Form 990 due diligence checklist (PDF)
- Due diligence process for donor-recommended grants (PDF)
- Grant reporting process for donor-recommended grants (PDF)
- Napa County nonprofit organizations (PDF)