Today’s a good day because all the 2017-2018 season files have been processed and added to the downloadable Orchestra 990s at the Adaptistration Store. This brings the total number of seasons up to 19.
A big thank you to everyone who has already purchased copies and keep in mind, the more you buy, the less it costs thanks to automatic quantity discounts (no need to muck about with coupons or discount codes):
- purchase 2-5: five percent discount
- purchase 6-10: 10 percent discount
- purchase 11-15: 15 percent discount
So what makes these so special?
- They are grouped by season.
- The default random alpha-numeric filenames have been changed to the orchestra name (because opening a bunch of files to find the one you need is for chumps).
- The files have been processed through Adobe Acrobat’s optical character recognition (OCR) scan. This will make the files keyword searchable (a huge time saver!).
- Each season comes with a corresponding notes document pointing out any need-to-know items. For example, when an orchestra changes its fiscal year it is common to find two IRS filings, one that covers time through the end of the previous fiscal year and one to cover the extra time through the end of the new fiscal year.
- You’ll be able to download the file immediately after completing your purchase and the password to unzip the file will be included as a separate pdf file download.
Which orchestras are included?
There’s a complete list, broken down a season by season, at the download page.
Can’t I download these myself?
Yes, having said that…
You can download copies of IRS 990s at Guidestar.org. In fact, the Orchestra Financial Reports page at Adaptistration.com maintains a list of direct links to more 77 orchestra’s financial reports page at GuideStar. If you only need to three per month from only the three most recent years, that’s a great option.
But know that you’ll only find the three most recent season’s worth of filings unless you have a paid Guidestar account (those start at $2,000 per year!!!). But those limitations aren’t nearly enough to conduct any meaningful comparative analysis, as such, I’m digging deep into my resource archives and will be rolling out copies that stretch all the way back to the 1999-2000 season!
On top of that three year cap, there’s the actual time spent downloading and collating.
Let’s say you’re pretty quick and it takes you 45 seconds to download all three available 990s per group. For 77 orchestras, that’s just about one hour of time. Once that’s done, you will need to rename and collate the files (which takes far more time than the downloads). Do you want to do any keyword searches? Then add on even more time for OCR processing.
By the time you get through all of that, you’re staring at more than eighteen hours of time or longer if you don’t have a super-fast computer for the OCR process (assuming you have the necessary software to begin with).
Even using the super low $7.25 minimum wage (and your time is worth more than that, right?), you’re looking at more than $100 for labor alone plus the $2,000/year fee from GuideStar.
So you can spend $458.75 for all nineteen years of 990s or more than $2,100 to get everything from Guidestar in unprocessed format.
In the end, these downloads are a bargain, improve efficiency, and go a long way toward making your task that much happier.