How Do Nonprofits Report Contributions and Grants?

Nonprofits report contributions and grants in their financial statements and various disclosures to provide transparency about the sources of their funding and how those funds are used to support their mission. Reporting practices can vary based on accounting standards and regulations, but here’s a general overview of how nonprofits typically report contributions and grants:

  1. Financial Statements:
    • Statement of Activities (Income Statement): Contributions and grants are reported as revenue items in the statement of activities. They are categorized based on their nature and restrictions, such as unrestricted, temporarily restricted, or permanently restricted.
    • Statement of Financial Position (Balance Sheet): The different categories of net assets (unrestricted, temporarily restricted, and permanently restricted) reflect the various types of contributions and grants received and held by the nonprofit.
  2. Notes to Financial Statements:
    • Nonprofits provide detailed explanations and breakdowns of contributions and grants in the notes to their financial statements. These notes provide additional context about the types of contributions, any restrictions or conditions placed on them, and how the funds are being utilized.
  3. Breakdown of Contributions:
    • Nonprofits often break down contributions and grants by source, such as individual donors, foundations, government agencies, and corporate donors. This breakdown helps stakeholders understand the diversity of funding sources.
  4. Unconditional vs. Conditional Contributions:
    • Nonprofits differentiate between unconditional contributions (where the donor places no specific restrictions on the use of funds) and conditional contributions (where the donor specifies how the funds should be used). Conditional contributions are recognized as revenue when the conditions are met.
  5. Release of Restrictions:
    • For temporarily restricted contributions and grants, nonprofits report when the restrictions are satisfied and the funds are released for use. This typically involves moving funds from temporarily restricted net assets to unrestricted net assets.
  6. Multi-Year Pledges:
    • Nonprofits that receive multi-year pledges report them in accordance with accounting standards. Pledges may need to be discounted to present value if they extend beyond one year.
  7. Grants and Contracts:
    • Grants and contracts from government agencies or other organizations are often reported separately due to their specific reporting requirements. These may have compliance or performance measures attached.
  8. In-Kind Contributions:
    • Nonprofits report the value of in-kind contributions (non-monetary assets or services) separately. These are recognized as revenue and an offsetting expense, often with detailed disclosures about the nature of the in-kind support.
  9. Fair Value Disclosure:
    • For certain non-cash contributions, such as donated securities or real estate, nonprofits disclose their fair value in the financial statements or notes.
  10. Narrative Disclosures:
  • Nonprofits may include narrative descriptions of significant contributions or grants, explaining their purpose, impact, and how they align with the organization’s mission.

Reporting contributions and grants accurately and transparently is crucial for maintaining trust and accountability with donors, stakeholders, and regulatory bodies. Nonprofits must follow relevant accounting standards (such as Generally Accepted Accounting Principles – GAAP) and any specific reporting requirements set by funding sources or governing bodies.

Caroline Grimm

Caroline Grimm is an accounting educator and a small business enthusiast. She holds Masters and Bachelor degrees in Business Administration. She is the author of 13 books and the creator of Accounting How To YouTube channel and blog. For more information visit:

Recent Posts