Nonprofits urged to be more open

Robert Ottenhoff
Robert Ottenhoff

While almost all nonprofits have websites, few are using the reach of the Internet to adequately disclose information about their organizations, a new report says.

More than nine in 10 nonprofits have a website, and almost half post their annual reports, says the report from GuideStar, “The State of Nonprofit Transparency, 2008: Voluntary Disclosure Practices.”

But only 13 percent post their audited financial statements and only three percent post their IRS letters of determination, both of which GuideStar recommends making available online.

In addition, nonprofits should keep their websites current, include brief biographies for staff and board members and post annual reports.

“We believe that sharing relevant and timely information is essential to building and maintaining the public’s trust in the nonprofit sector,” Bob Ottenhoff, president and CEO of GuideStar, says in a statement. “We also believe that the Internet is the fundamental tool for achieving greater nonprofit transparency.”

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