The following is a post by Jacob Harold, GuideStar's president and CEO.
Data has a reputation of being the opposite of emotion, but I see them as quite connected. I was asked to write a blog post for Arabella Advisors and I wrote about this very subject – it’s here if you’re interested. At the heart of every donation is emotion, but I believe that donations can be guided by data without losing its emotional authenticity. At GuideStar, we’re working to provide the raw intel and analysis to help guide that decision. At our best, we’re showing the financial and programmatic details of a nonprofit while also helping paint a full picture of a nonprofit so that people can make an emotional connection with it. After all, this nonprofit sector that we choose to support is so important, and it’s more than just numbers and words.
Money for Good II, a research project on which we partnered with Hope Consulting, showed us that donors care about nonprofit performance, they want a complete picture of a nonprofit, and they want that picture presented in a clear, easy-to-understand way. More than half of all donors we surveyed said that they want to use information portals like GuideStar to find information about high-performing nonprofits.
Our free GuideStar Exchange program is just one tool that nonprofits have in their arsenal to do all of the above. Organizations compile their basic details—including mission, programs, finances, and governance—into one profile to share their story with donors. That profile is then used by donation portals, donor-advised funds, and foundations, some of which now require that potential grantees have an updated GuideStar Exchange profile before they consider a proposal. In addition, the program allows nonprofits to provide an “impact statement,” details about their organization’s accomplishments from the past year, and goals for the current year as they relate to programs, management, or finances. Supporters can link to the nonprofit’s GuideStar Exchange report via emails, social media platforms, and website.
We also support other tools like Charting Impact, Financial SCAN, the GreatNonprofits review platform. In all of this, GuideStar is at the service of the nonprofit community. We are a public charity that serves the entire nonprofit sector and makes the high-quality information we collect from nonprofits available to 98 percent of visitors to www.guidestar.org free of charge, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And as a public charity, GuideStar must seek out grants and gifts to support its important work.
That's where you come in—we're asking for your help. By making a tax-deductible donation to us today, you're helping your favorite nonprofits—and others you support—get the exposure and support it needs to succeed. But we need your help to continue providing these services and more.
Help us help donors make better and more confident decisions with their heads and their hearts. Help us empower nonprofit organizations to become more impactful. Donate Now.
And tell us what you think: what is the relationship between data and emotion? How can we help people make good decisions while holding onto the sense of meaning that leads us to give in the first place?