Useful Online Resources and Research Aids for 501(c)(3) Nonprofits
Acquiring Nonprofit Status
IRS.gov – When you apply for nonprofit status, your determination letter is going to come from the Internal Revenue Service, so what better source than the IRS website for learning what it will take for you to apply. Start by checking out the IRS’s “Tax Information for Charities & Other Non-Profits” page for the most accurate information you will need to help you with this process.
Don’t Reinvent the Wheel – Know Your Nonprofit Peers in Kern County
Kern Community Foundation’s Online Nonprofit Search Engine – Get to know Kern County’s nonprofit landscape by exploring a listing of hundreds of local charitable organizations registered with Kern Community Foundation. In the Nonprofit Search, you will find the name and mission statement of these nonprofits, as well as links to their GuideStar profile, their website, and their Facebook page.
CalNonprofits.org – The California Association of Nonprofits is a statewide membership organization that brings nonprofits together to advocate for communities throughout our state. Their Causes Count Report, which can be downloaded for free from their website (with the option to purchase a hard copy), is an invaluable statistical tool for expressing regional needs in grant writing, fundraising and advocacy.
Census.gov – The leading source of quality data about the demographics and economy of the United States. This is a favorite starting place for research for many grant writers.
GuideStar.org – The largest database on nonprofits, where donors explore charities and issues they want to support, nonprofit leaders benchmark their organizations against their peers, and funders research grantees. A Silver or higher Transparency Rating on GuideStar is required to register with Kern Community Foundation and enjoy grant opportunities offered through the Foundation and the Kern Alliance of Nonprofits.
IndependentSector.org – A useful and trusted website for finding out major statistics, by state, about the the nonprofit sector and its impact, including the value of a volunteer hour in each state and nationwide.
Grants.ca.gov – Managed and hosted by the California State Library, this site was launched under the Grant Information Act of 2018 (Stats. 2018, Ch. 318), which required the State Library to build one website by July 1, 2020, “that provides a centralized location … to find state grant opportunities.” It is a good research tool to find grants from various state agencies and to learn where to apply. Through this website, you can request to be sent e-mail alerts of new grant opportunity postings.
Grants.gov – A centralized location for grant seekers to find and apply for funding opportunities from federal agencies. More than just a grant application portal, Grants.gov has many educational tools to help grant writers learn about federal grants–from the grant life cycle to grant terminology to grant reporting and more.
Kern County Library’s Grant Research Center (in partnership with FoundationCenter.org, which maintains comprehensive databases on grants and grantmakers; conducts and publishes research on trends in philanthropy; and offers training opportunities) – The Kern County Library’s Foundation Directory Online has information on more than 98,000 grantmakers. (This resource is available only via public computers at the Beale Memorial Library in Bakersfield, Kern River Valley Branch Library in Lake Isabella, and Ridgecrest Branch Library in Ridgecrest.)
Located on the second floor of Beale Memorial Library (701 Truxtun Ave, in Downtown Bakersfield; Tel. 661.868.0701), the Grant Research Center has directories of private and corporate foundations, how-to books on grant seeking and writing, fundraising magazines and newsletters, and a Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (U.S. Government funding). All materials are free to use during library hours, and library staff are available to answer questions.
Operations and Management
BoardSource – Supports, trains and educates nonprofit leaders from across the country and throughout the world.
National Council of Nonprofits – Helps nonprofits achieve greater collective impact by identifying emerging trends, sharing proven practices and promoting solutions that benefit charitable nonprofits and the communities they serve.
NonprofitReady – Free online course library supporting the most common nonprofit job families, including fundraising, leadership, accounting and finance, operations, marketing and communications, volunteer engagement, and program management.
TechSoup: Free and discounted software and hardware for nonprofits.
Access Capital and Economic Development
Access Plus Capital – a small business loan fund whose mission is to grow businesses and jobs in underserved communities. Their financial products include microloans of $50,000 and under, with affordable finance terms for nonprofits.
California Community Economic Development Association (CCEDA) – A membership organization that serves as a clearinghouse for information and action that advances the field of community economic development through training and continuing education, technical assistance, and advocacy on public policy.