How to Find a 501 (c) (3) in California

A 501 (c) (3) organization is a tax-exempt not for profit organization that participates in educational, scientific, religious or philanthropic work, according to the Internal Revenue Service. Named for the section of the tax code that describes the nature of their tax-exempt status, 501 (c) (3) organizations differ from other nonprofits in that they cannot participate in any political activities, lobbying, advocacy work or support of political candidates. State, national and nonprofit resources will assist you in your search for a California 501 (c) (3).

Use California government resources. California’s office of the attorney general maintains an online resource center for the California nonprofit community. Links to the Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts, which tracks all 501 (c) (3) organizations in the state, as well as to the California Secretary of State’s office, which publishes a directory of all incorporated California 501 (c) (3) nonprofits, will help you find a 501 (c) (3) with a few mouse clicks. The attorney general’s resource center also provides links to local governments in California that require 501 (c) (3) nonprofits to register with local officials.

Check with the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS maintains a tool on its website that allows you to search for 501 (c) (3) organizations by city or state. Note that the IRS does not provide full contact information about California 501 (c) (3) organizations on its site — the agency publishes the name and location of the nonprofit, as well as information about its financial structure and the types of contributions it accepts.

Search nonprofit directories and publications. GuideStar, a national database that publishes financial and organizational information about all nonprofits in the U.S., allows you to search for a 501 (c) (3) by organization name, city, state or keyword. Search results yield a list with contact information, leadership lists and financial information. Philanthropy Journal, a magazine that covers the nonprofit charitable community, features tools and directories on its website that you can use to find 501 (c) (3) organizations in California. Search tools allow you to isolate your search by state or type of nonprofit. Note that Philanthropy Journal’s tool lists only types of nonprofits that fall under the 501 (c) (3) definition — so the tool will produce a list of all California 501 (c) (3) organaizations in its database.

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About the Author

Matt Browning has been writing about health, science, food and travel since 1990. His career has spanned advocacy, medical communications and public relations and his stories have won awards from the Virginia Press Association. Browning earned a Bachelor of Arts in English language and literature from the University of Virginia.