The investigative-journalism organization ProPublica started a free online service for searching the federal tax returns of more than 615,000 nonprofits. ProPublica began building its Nonprofit Explorer tool on its Web site shortly after the Internal Revenue Service announced that it was making nonprofit tax returns available in a digital, searchable format.
Competition for GuideStar?
ProPublica, based in New York City, is supported by more than a dozen of the nation’s largest foundations and reported $10.1-million in 2011 revenue, nearly all from contributions, according to its nonprofit tax form found on GuideStar.
GuideStar is also a nonprofit organization. It reported $11-million in 2011 revenue, driven mostly from fees paid for its services beyond basic searching of tax forms, according to its tax forms found on Nonprofit Explorer.
“We’re not worried about it,” said Lindsay Nicholas, communications director at GuideStar. “Ninety-nine percent of the 10 million annual visitors that come to us use our data for free. We are glad when there are other sources. We like ProPublica, and we’ve worked with them in the past. The more, the merrier. We think this data should be everywhere.”