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SWOT Research

This research guide will help students find information needed for a SWOT analysis. It includes databases, websites and videos showing how look for the different factors.

Help! My company is neither large nor nor public

Private companies are those for which there is no public ownership of their shares or assets. Because private or family-owned companies are not required to file detailed financial information with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), there are a lot fewer information sources for private company research.   

Here are some general guidelines for searching for information on non-public companies:


  • Search for your Company/Organization's name when searching online for news and journal articles.

  • Search the Industry of your company/organization to find out news, trends, threats, etc.  Think about how your  company compares to others in the industry.   What is going on in the industry of your company (e.g. pricing trends, competition, cost trends, innovation) and also what is happening in the operating environment (e.g. economy, demographic trends, regulation/laws etc).

  • Search the Organization/Company’s website for any information they may have available to the public such as press releases and news.   However, be sure to understand the bias of information posted on a company's website. They are not likely to post negative information.

  • If your internship is at a local or state government officeyou can still take a look at the organization and the functions it performs and how they might perform vs. their competition or similar municipalities or states.   Speak to some administrators and ask questions such as: 

  • How do their internal computer systems work?
  • What services do you provide for the public and how effective are they at providing them?
  • ​You can also research current news to help with the External Assessment of your organization.
  • What are the issues that your municipality is facing?​
  • Are their budget cuts coming that could affect staffing and levels of service?

Sources to try for Private Company Information  


Directories/Rankings of Non-Public Companies:

  • Forbes - America's Largest Private Companies
  • Inc. 50000. The Fastest Growing Private Companies in America.
  • Red Herring's 100 Awards


  • Manta Companies in the United States - Search by name of your company.
  • Nexis Uni - To find company information, Choose “Companies” on the right side of the page. Get a snapshot of a company with links to more detailed information. Results may include company information, mergers and acquisitions, news, top executives, SEC filings, legal information, and more.

Locating Information on a Non-Profit Organization




Searching for information on non-profit companies is much different than finding information on a public traded company because non profits are not required to file annual reports.

Nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) status are required to file Form 990, Return of Organizations Exempt from Income Tax, with the IRS. The form includes financial statements and background information on the nonprofit, including salaries of key employees (i.e. director, head, officers).

Although these reports are not as detailed as the annual report or 10-K reports, the following sites are a good place to start in order to obtain background information on a non-profit company:

The GuideStar database provides an extensive list of Non-Profit organizations that includes a summary of their organization structure and purpose as well as key financials and programs.   This is a great place to get started.

990 Finder gives you free access to nearly 3 million of the most recent Forms 990 and 990-PF filed by nonprofit organizations with Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

This website is managed by The Better Business Bureau (BBB).    The BBB Wise Giving Alliance helps donors make informed giving decisions and promotes high standards of conduct among organizations that solicit contributions from the public. It produces reports about national charities, evaluating them against comprehensive Standards for Charity Accountabilityand publishes a magazine, theWise Giving Guide, three times a year.

BBB WGA does not rank charities but rather seeks to assist donors in making informed judgments about those that solicit their support. Evaluations are done without charge to the charity and are posted for free public access on

Founded in 2001, Charity Navigator has become the nation's largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities. In our quest to help donors, our team of professional analysts has examined tens of thousands of non-profit financial documents. We've used this knowledge to develop an unbiased, objective, numbers-based rating system to assess over 9,000 of America's best-known and some lesser known, but worthy, charities.