Sunday, October 07, 2007


How did I make sense of the nonprofit universe before I discovered the Urban Institute (a Nonpartisian Economic and Public Policy Research Organization)?

There are 11 policy centers under the umbrella of the Urban Institute. The one that rocks my boat is, of course, the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy (CNP).

The mission of CNP is to promote understanding of civil society and improve nonprofit sector performance through rigorous research, clear analysis and informed policy.

Even more enticing is one of CNP's programs: the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) - the national clearinghouse of data on the nonprofit sector in the United States.
Current NCCS Projects include:
  • The "Form 990 Wiki" (a collaborative website) for helping the nonprofit research and practitioner communities reason together about the draft IRS Form 990 released in June 2007 by the IRS. The goal is to develop a set of practical recommendations that have been carefully vetted to minimize their costs and maximize their potential benefit for researchers, regulators and practitioners.
  • Improving the quality of data on nonprofit organizations:
    • The Nonprofit Overhead Cost Study aims to to understand and improve the measurement and reporting of fundraising and administrative expenses.
    • The Quality 990 website focuses on improving the quality of IRS form 990 reporting by nonprofit organizations.

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