What to look for: Who are the key executives and staff? Who is on the board of directors? What other corporations/organizations are represented on the board?

Where to find it: LittleSis.org, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, non-profit tax returns on ProPublica’s nonprofit explorer, news articles, the company’s website, the company’s profile on Yahoo Finance

Reading Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Filings for Publicly Traded Companies

Publicly traded companies are required to file various reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC oversees a public database called EDGAR (Electronic Data Gathering Analysis and Retrieval) where you can access these reports, which can be a treasure trove of information about powerful corporations, including biographies of their executives and board members. 

There are several helpful guides for navigating the SEC’s EDGAR database:

Reading Non-profit Organizations’ Tax Returns

Tax-exempt organizations are required to file tax return forms, most commonly Form 990. These forms are publicly available and can be searched on a number of free and subscription-based websites, including GuideStar.org and ProPublica’s Non-Profit Explorer. Form 990 includes lots of interesting information, including the organization’s leadership and board, highest compensated executives, expenses, and investments. 

Board members and executives can be found in Part VII Section A of an organization’s 990.

Note: Once you’ve identified the corporation/organization’s leaders, see our guide to researching powerful individuals to help guide your power mapping of them. 

2. Investors & Creditors