When you sit down to craft fundraising material with the hopes of attracting generous donors, you take time to convey your message thoughtfully and with care. The same should be done with your Form 990 because it will reach a larger audience than any other material you distribute. Your Form 990 is available to the public on sites like GuYou can make the Form 990 work for you by focusing on two key areas.
The Mission Statement
Your organization’s mission is the first impression given to readers. It is displayed in both the first page snapshot (Part I) of the organization and on the second page (Part III), which should tell you it’s important. Here are a few tips for a high impact mission statement:
- Make sure your mission reflects your organization where it is today, not where it began.
- In Part I, your mission should be concise and on-point. You have 170 characters to get your message across… that’s even shorter than a Tweet!
- Part III gives you more space to expand. It should reflect your organization’s full mission statement.
The Statement of Program Service Accomplishments
Program Service Accomplishments (PSAs) provide an excellent opportunity for you to highlight your organization’s impact. Here are some tips to help make it shine :
- Your 3 largest PSAs are described in Part III of the Form 990. However, you should provide details for all your other PSAs in Schedule O (blank lines for additional information). Although a potential donor may not be as interested in your largest PSAs, one of your smaller ones may spark their interest – and a subsequent donation.
- Ensure that your PSAs are aligned with your organization’s mission, vision, and values.
- Don’t send mixed messages to your readers! Make sure your mission and PSAs(including amounts) on the Form 990 are consistent with your website, fundraising materials, and other public communications.