December 12, 2011

Why it's important to sign up for a DUNS number

It's that time of year again - time to make sure you are registered for a DUNS number, so you can be counted!

Oklahomans for the Arts and Americans for the Arts strongly encourage individual artists, creative entrepreneurs, and nonprofit organizations to register for a Dun and Bradstreet (DUNS) number online. One of the main reasons to do this is to be counted in Americans for the Arts Creative industries research, which quantifies arts-related businesses and jobs in the United States. AFTA will use 2011 data to calculate the latest numbers, to be released in April 2012, so it's important to make sure you are registered by the end of the year. 

The process for registering is simple and easy and only takes a few minutes. These instructions assume that you do not already have a DUNS number. If you are unsure if you already have a DUNS number, you can check via the Dun & Bradstreet website. Use the search feature on the right side of the page to find your business or organization.

Americans for the Arts has also compiled a Sign Up and Be Counted instruction packet with step-by-step instructions, checklists for registering, frequently asked questions, and a glossary of terms. You can download this helpful tool here.

Ready to Register?

When you contact Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) you will be asked to provide the most up-to-date information on yourself (if you are an individual artist) or your organization. Americans for the Arts has outlined this two-step process below. Follow these steps to get your free DUNS number.

Step 1. Assemble the following information:

  1. Legal name of your organization (or your name if registering as an artist or “sole proprietor”)
  2. Contact information
  3. Name of authorizing official (president, director. If you are an individual artist, that would be you.)
  4. Total number of employees
  5. Purpose of your organization or type of artistic production (e.g., nonprofit dance company that performs and creates work, museum that provides art exhibitions for the general public, artist who specializes in metalwork)
  6. Your Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code. The SIC refers to the type of organization or art-form (e.g., arts council, ballet company, or actress). Use the SIC table found on this methodology page to identify the SIC code for yourself or organization.

Step 2. Go to the Dun & Bradstreet webpage to begin.

  1. Click on "Request a DUNS number."
  2. On the next screen, select "Get a DUNS number." You will be transferred to a page where you can begin your DUNS number request. Provide your name and contact information. Click "Submit" to continue with registration.
  3. The next page asks you to complete your business profile. Fill in the fields with the information assembled in Step 1.
  4. Next you will see two options: “Establish Credit File for $549” or “Get it Free—Wait 30 Days”
  5. Click "Thirty Days" to receive your DUNS number at no cost.

Please note that while the process for registering takes only minutes, if you choose the "Thirty Days" option you you will have to wait for your DUNS number. When a free online account is set up with D&B, it is routed to a sales office that will call and try to sell you services (which you should not feel in any way obligated to accept). After 28 days, the account will automatically be transferred over from the sales office to be assigned a DUNS number. This 30-day timeline is built into the process for every customer who chooses not to pay for the service.

If you already have a DUNS number, you still need to update your business profile. View instructions for how to do this.

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