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Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan
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Building Better Charities

Frequently Asked Questions


I have just been solicited by a charity. How can I get information about the organization?

All charities that solicit in Illinois should be registered with the Office of the Attorney General. The Attorney General’s office can tell you if a charitable organization is registered and current in its reporting requirements.

If the charity is registered, the Attorney General’s Charitable Trust Bureau can provide the following public information:

• CO-1 registration form
• Articles of incorporation or trust instrument
• Annual financial reports, including the form AG 990-IL, a copy of the federal return (form IRS 990 or form IRS 990PF), and if required, a copy of the CPA audit report

Contact the Attorney General’s Charitable Trust Bureau at 312-814-2595 (TTY: 1-800-964-3013) for copies of these materials. There is a copying fee of 15 cents per page.

What information is on a charitable organization’s form AG 990-IL?

Form AG 990-IL reports on the following information:
• how much money the charitable organization received
• how the charitable organization spent the donations, including money paid to professional fund-raisers
• how much the charitable organization paid their three highest paid employees
• the value of the charitable organization’s assets and liabilities as of the end of the year

Can I get information about a charitable organization’s operations and expenditures directly from the charitable organization?

Yes. Federal law requires each charitable organization to send you a copy of its federal form 990 for a reasonable charge.

How do I know if a charity is using a professional fund-raiser?

Illinois law requires paid fund-raisers to identify themselves as such and to name the charity for which they’re soliciting.

I have just been solicited by a paid fund-raiser. If I donate, how much of my contribution will go to the charity?

Illinois law requires paid fund-raisers to disclose what percentage of your contribution will go to the charity (and what percentage will pay their salaries) if asked.

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