Financial SCAN


Situation and Comparables Analysis

Assessing a nonprofit's financial health is time-consuming and challenging. Which metrics should you focus on, and what do they mean? 

NFF and GuideStar's Financial SCAN 2.0 is an affordable online tool that shows a clear and comprehensive picture of a nonprofit’s financial condition and history. Financial SCAN reveals patterns in financial information, helping organizations and funders make the connection between money and mission more rapidly and effectively than ever before. And in our new Version 2.0, we’ve added new capabilities and pricing options to make it even more useful. Click here to check it out. 


See a video demonstration that best fits the kind of Financial SCAN user you are: 

New features help you get even more out of 990 data:

  • Peer group comparison
    (view brief demo)
  • Export dashboards to Excel
    (view brief demo)
  • Longer access for nonprofit users (now 7 days)
  • Improved access options for annual subscribers with multiple users

What’s in a Financial SCAN Report?

Financial Health Dashboard: What is the big picture?

The dashboard is a snapshot of up to five years of financial trends and ratios for a nonprofit. Knowing an organization’s past can guide decision-making and help stakeholders better understand opportunities and challenges. In Version 2.0, you can now download the data in excel to create custom graphs or use the data in your other reports.

Graphs & Data Interpretation: What can you learn from the financial details?

This section uses graphs to assess a nonprofit's profitability, expense trends, revenue dynamics, balance sheet health, and liquidity. It also includes a primer on financial terms and calculations, and analytical questions to help focus discussions.

Peer Comparables Analysis: How does a nonprofit look relative to its peers?

You can review a nonprofit’s financials side-by-side with up to five peers of your choice to better understand broader trends. In our new and improved Version 2.0, you can now also view an organization against a median value for a broad group or subsector that you get to define. This gives a much deeper understanding of how your target organization compares to its sector at large. You can now also download all the data in excel to create custom graphs or use the data in your other reports.

Consultations: Develop a deeper, more nuanced understanding of a nonprofit's health

Have questions about how to interpret the financial data in your report or need guidance on how to use this information for decision-making? Contact NFF at

“At Surdna, we’re using Financial SCAN to help us manage the financial component of our due diligence in a more systematic way. Financial SCAN helps us foster discussion internally and with our grantees about the issues they are dealing with. It raises red flags that warrant further discussion and helps us understand trends in profitability, liquidity, liabilities and restricted funds. In combination with audited financials and organization and project budgets, Financial SCAN paints a powerful, comprehensive and visual picture of risks and opportunities associated with a potential grant. It provides great value for the cost." 
Jonathan Goldberg, Surdna Foundation
Financial SCAN is easy to use and helps us see our organization’s financial statements with an investor’s eye. It is a valuable training tool for staff, helping them connect the work they do in the field to the financial information that foundations and other institutional investors use in making their funding decisions.” 
Denise Galatas, Southern Mutual Help Association

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how Financial SCAN can help:



Brought to you by NFF and GuideStar




Contact an NFF Consultant to Help Interpret Results:

If you have questions about how to interpret and use the financial data in your report, please contact NFF: Learn more about our services here.



Things to keep in mind


  • Financial SCAN draws data only from IRS Form 990 tax returns. Nonprofits that file the Form 990-EZ and foundations that file the Form 990-PF are not included in the SCAN analysis.
  • Financial data and analysis should be paired with data on the impact and effectineness of an organization's progams