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Ten Tips for Staying Sane about Your Board


  1. Let go of any written or unwritten rules you may have about the "right" way for board members to participate in fundraising.

  2. Above all, let go of the notion that all board members must ask others for money.

  3. Accept the 20-60-20 rule when it comes to fundraising and your board. That is, 20 percent of the board will enjoy being involved in fundraising, 60 percent will be neutral about it, and the remaining 20 percent will want nothing to do with it.

From the President's Office, June 2005

Dear Friend:

Welcome to GuideStar 3.0, our brand-new Web site. What you see is the result of months and months of very careful listening, many creative suggestions, and an enthusiastic group of users and customers. And, of course, a very talented and dedicated staff at GuideStar that worked many long hours.

Thanks also to all of you who took the time during the past weeks to share your thoughts on our plans for the site. We've tried to work out as many bugs as possible, but we readily admit that a few gremlins are popping up. So stay with us.

Some questions are coming up frequently that I want to address:

  • Do I have to pay to see the 990s?
    All registered, logged-in users can access the three most recent 990s we have received for an organization from the IRS at no charge. You can also access at no charge all 990s nonprofits have posted through our new eDocs service. If you want to look at a 990 older than three years, however, you will need to subscribe to GuideStar Premium.

  • Where are the 990s?
    In each filing organization's GuideStar Report. GuideStar Basic users can access 990s using the Form 990 link in the report. GuideStar Select and GuideStar Premium subscribers can access 990s from either the search results or GuideStar Reports.
    Remember, though, that not every nonprofit files a 990. Many of the people who contact us about missing 990s are looking at organizations that do not file them. Only organizations with annual incomes of more than $25,000 must file—around two-thirds of the public charities in this country are under that threshold. And most faith-based organizations of any size are not required to file a 990. (For more information, click on the "De-myth-ifying IRS Form 990" link at the end of this Newsletter.)

  • I see the 990 link in the GuideStar Report, but I can't get the 990.
    You probably have pop-ups blocked on your browser. You can set your browser to allow pop-ups when you are on GuideStar. Go toHelp in your browser's toolbar, search "pop-up blocker," and follow the instructions for adding sites on which pop-ups are permitted. If that doesn't solve the problem, please e-mail info@guidestar.org.

  • Do you have 990s for the 340,000-plus nonprofits you just added to your database?
    Not yet, but we'll start receiving and posting them soon.

  • I confirmed my registration the first time I went to your new site, but the link in the confirmation e-mail doesn't work.
    Try copying the link from the e-mail and pasting it into your browser. If that doesn't work, please contact info@guidestar.org.

  • I confirmed my registration but never received the confirmation e-mail.
    Please go to our site and confirm your information one more time. If you still don't receive an e-mail, please contactinfo@guidestar.org.

  • Your site seems slower than it was.
    It is, and we're working on getting it back up to speed.
Outside GuideStar, last month Independent Sector posted draft recommendations for the Panel on the Nonprofit Sector's final report to the Senate Finance Committee. Members of the charitable community were invited to respond May 10-19. The panel's final recommendations will be delivered to Capitol Hill sometime this month.

What happens next, however, is anyone's guess. At GuideStar, we will continue to monitor the activities on Capitol Hill and throughout the sector, to report developments in them to you, and to promote nonprofit transparency and accountability.

We look forward to your comments on our new Web site and appreciate your suggestions on how to make it even better.

Sincerely,

Bob Ottenhoff
President and CEO

Promoting Your Brand


Excerpt from Branding for Success: A Roadmap for Raising the Visibility and Value of Your Nonprofit Organization

Maximizing Opportunities

An excellent branding opportunity is about to present itself to one of your staff who is attending a party unrelated to your organization's business. She is among a group of strangers. Not surprisingly, everyone is fetching for conversation. The inevitable ice-breaker is posed: "So, what do you do for a living?" The ensuing conversation can either be a boost to your organization's brand or a squandered opportunity.

GuideStar and the National Center for Charitable Statistics Team Up to Support E-Filing Forms 990


GuideStar and the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) are teaming up to support e-filing of Form 990, the annual information tax return for nonprofit organizations. NCCS has developed a free IRS-approved system to prepare and electronically file Forms 990, 990-EZ, and 8868 (Request for Extension). GuideStar is helping to spread the word about the benefits of e-filing.

Form 990 Online makes it easy for an organization to complete its 990 or 990-EZ. Form 990 Online:

  • calculates totals,
  • includes nearly 50 standard attachments, and
  • verifies the accuracy of the return.

Other features include:


Accessing Forms 990


  • Where are the 990s and are they still free?
    All registered users can access the three most recent 990s at no charge. If you want to look at a 990 older than three years, you'll need to subscribe to GuideStar Premium.

    The only things that have changed about accessing the 990s are (a) the Form 990 links are on the right side of GuideStar Report pages and (b) GuideStar Select and GuideStar Premium users can access 990s from the search results in a pop-up window.

    Remember, though, that not every nonprofit files a 990. Many of the people who contact us about missing 990s are looking at organizations that do not file them. Only organizations with annual incomes of more than $25,000 must file—around two-thirds of the public charities in this country are under that threshold. And most faith-based organizations of any size are not required to file a 990.

    Step-by-step path to 990s:

Donors and Deductions


Congress's renewed focus on charity reform has led some to revive proposals for extending charitable deductions to donors who cannot itemize on their federal income tax. With the April 15 deadline for individual filers approaching last month, we decided to find out whether the deduction affects giving. If the results of our totally unscientific survey are any indication, the answer is "tremendously."

The Importance of Listening and Why People Give: In Every Contact, a Billionaire's Gift


This article originally appeared on www.jeffreybyrneandassociates.com

To the general public, tax benefits top the list of why people give to charity. But is that what motivated Joan Kroc to leave an estate gift of $1.5 billion to the Salvation Army—one of the largest gifts to a single organization?

In a 1998 article reporting how Joan Kroc gave $80 million that year to the Salvation Army's San Diego Corps for a community center, Joan recalled how her husband used to dress up as Santa Claus during the holidays and ring the bell for Salvation Army donations on the streets of San Diego.

Sure, the Krocs had known wealth, but what did the Salvation Army do to motivate what were at the time the two largest gifts the organization had ever received?

 Don't miss out on donations this Giving Season. Add a Donate button to your GuideStar Nonprofit Profile today.