The GuideStar Blog retired September 9, 2019. We invite you to visit its replacement, the Candid Blog. You’re also welcome to browse or search the GuideStar Blog archives. Onward!

GuideStar Blog

Quick hits from the Social Media for Nonprofits NYC conference


I had the pleasure of learning, teaching, sharing, and absorbing lots of great ideas at Social Media for Nonprofits, a conference series curated by Darian Rodriguez Heyman and Ritu Sharma and sponsored by NTEN. The conference made its New York debut, after passing through San Francisco and Washington, DC, where it similarly drew large crowds of eager nonprofit staffers, enthusiastic consultants, and yes, even a few services.

GOOD’s Acquisition of Jumo Is a Model That Should Be Replicated

I have a few thoughts on the Jumo acquisition.

First, kudos to Chris Hughes for having the courage to fold Jumo into GOOD. From all public accounts, Jumo wasn’t doing all that well, with declining web traffic and nonprofit participation and an uncertain funding future. The usual course in the nonprofit sector is to hold on and slowly fade into mediocrity. I’m often asked by reporters if we have too many nonprofits. I actually think that the low barrier to entry for starting a new nonprofit is a good thing, as it can encourage creativity, diversity and passion. The problem comes when a once brilliant idea doesn’t catch on. When that happens in the for-profit world, small start-ups go out of business or are sold. In the nonprofit world, start-ups tend to find just enough grant money to stay in business but not enough to do anything meaningful. One of the implications of chosing to send more money to high-performing organizations is that more nonprofit organizations will close up shop. So, thanks Chris Hughes for giving us a good model of what more nonprofit leaders need to have the courage to do.

The Importance of Communication in Nonprofit Management

I joined a friend for lunch the other day to talk about a course he is teaching on management and organization. I used the occasion to dig back into my files (I still have some paper files!) to look at one of my favorite articles from the Harvard Business Review - all the way back to March 1978: Zen and the Art of Management by Richard Tanner Pascale. I think the article still holds up. It foreshadows some of the wisdom of Jim Collins and his assessment of the importance of the team to any great organization’s success (or later fall from greatness).

Be There: Social Media for Nonprofits-8/22 @ UCLA


We know that most of you are busy running your own nonprofit organizations, as well as serving on nonprofit boards and participating in side projects designed to make the world a better place. This post is for you, as well as those of you with nonprofit types in your networks.

Who Will Lead Your Fundraising Campaign?

Reprinted from Contributions Magazine

Blog from Social Media for Nonprofits Washington, DC, Conference


The Social Media for Nonprofits conference in Washington, DC featured a stellar list of speakers and local voices. The purpose of the conference was practical tips, tools and approaches to be more effective online with social media.

Need a Social Media Strategy? Start with These Three-Pronged Approaches

Most nonprofits understand the potential power of social media to connect with both old and new supporters, advocates, and clients. But few nonprofits can articulate the strategy behind the time they spend on blogging, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

The Rich, the Getting Richer and the Very Rich


I had the good fortune of participating in a panel this past weekend at the Summer Symposium of the Giving Institute with two very smart observers of the nonprofit scene: Matthew Bishop of the Economist and the co-author of Philanthrocapitalism, and Patrick Rooney, the Executive Director of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and the person who oversees the Giving USA Report.

Enchantment: Resisting Guy Kawasaki Is Futile


The Social Media for Nonprofit Conference series kicked off in San Francisco in War Memorial Green Room with support from Microsoft. The conference shared practical tips and tools with expert speakers including, JD Lasica, Social Brite, Susan Gordon of, Jonah Sachs of Free Range Studios, Charles Porch of Facebook, Susan Tenby of TechSoup Global and Kellie McElhaney, founding faculty director of the Center for Responsible Business at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.

Defining Success in Nonprofit Leadership




I’m taking a couple of days in my blog to review an article from the March 1978 Harvard Business Review called Zen and the Art of Management by Richard Tanner Pascale. A few days ago, Stephanie Strom had a great piece in the New York Times about the impact of the Omidyar Network and other funders on nonprofit personnel practices. Omidyar’s Sal Gianbanco has done a tremendous job helping GuideStar create a Human Capital Development Plan that looks at every aspect of our most important asset – our people – including compensation, succession planning, performance evaluation and training. The Omidyar Network truly understands that we can’t reach our mission unless we have a team of skilled, motivated, and committed people.

Roles and Responsibilities of Nonprofit Audit Committee Members

The nonprofit sector is extremely diverse. Some organizations deal with hundreds of millions of dollars each year, whereas others' budgets are only in the thousands. But regardless of size and scope, one of the many commonalities that all nonprofits should be concerned with is corporate governance. In fact, many organizations still need to be convinced that they need audit committees. For organizations that are exploring the implementation of audit committees—or for those with active ones—it is extremely important to understand their roles and responsibilities.

From Tragedy to Community: Join the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance

This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks that changed our nation forever. In the days and weeks that followed, our nation came together in an unprecedented spirit of community and commitment. MyGoodDeed, the respected 9/11 nonprofit that successfully advocated for making 9/11 a federally recognized Day of Service and Remembrance, and HandsOn Network, the volunteer activation division of Points of Light Institute, are leading an influential coalition of prominent organizations that are working together to plan and implement the 9/11 Day Observance. The coalition's primary goal for the upcoming 10-year anniversary of 9/11 is to organize the single largest day of charitable service in U.S. history.