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

Getting to Aha!: Nonprofit Messages Survey Results Point the Way

The following is a guest-post by Nancy E. Schwartz, publisher of the Getting Attention blog and e-newsletter, and president of consulting firm Nancy Schwartz & Company.

Growing the GuideStar community, one member at a time

The following is a post from Lauren Walinsky, GuideStar’s membership director. You can email Lauren directly at

Using Your Strategic Plan

Quick quiz: When was the last time you looked at your organization's strategic plan? And not just the nice binder on your shelf, but at what's inside it? When did you last use the strategic plan to inform what you were doing a particular week? If it's been in the last week or two, hats off to you! If it's been much longer, ask yourself: Is your strategic plan really informing your work?

What's the Math? Three Questions Your Board Members Really Need to Know

Reprinted from the Fired-Up Fundraising Blog

GuideStar Partners with MobileCause to Promote Mobile Giving and Engagement

We recently partnered with MobileCause, the leading Web software service for mobile giving, engagement, analytics, and donor communication for nonprofits, in order to help donors give more money to deserving nonprofits with enhanced confidence and ease. Through this partnership, GuideStar and MobileCause collectively now deliver the single most comprehensive and up-to-date vetting and qualification resource for the mobile giving marketplace.

Software Integration & Trust: How Are They Related?

The following is a guest post by Shawn Kendrick, a researcher and blogger for VolunteerHub, a cloud-based volunteer management software application that offers online event registration, email and SMS (text) messaging, report generation, and much more. This is part of our ongoing VolunteerCorner series – focusing on what you need to know about volunteering for nonprofits.

Typically when the subject of trust comes up, we tend to think of it in terms of a relationship between two or more people or groups. However, ask any marketer or sales professional, and he or she will certainly remind you that products, brands, and services can also elicit feelings of trust. The same goes with software platforms. Below we will discuss the benefits of having trustworthy systems and what to consider when choosing new ones.

What to Look For

Shawn Kendrick

What makes a trustworthy employee? One that communicates well and gets along with others. One that you know is going to show up on time and put in an honest day’s work. When it comes to software, you should look for similar qualities. Do your software applications mesh together? For instance, do your donation management program and your volunteer management program work well with each other? When they talk with each other, is it fast and reliable, or are there a bunch of “work arounds” that have to be done? In the case of work arounds, the occasional one is OK, but you don’t want to ask your staff constantly to do things the hard way. Quality developers know this and work very diligently to make systems integrate. When looking at a new platform, make sure to ask if it works well with your current system.

How Your Organization Will Benefit

Having software platforms that work in harmony with one another is a tremendous advantage for any organization. Sometimes purchasing platforms that are synergistic with one another costs more upfront, but the staff time saved not having to deal with quirks between systems should be worth it alone. Then take into account fewer IT troubleshooting costs for “work arounds,” and it’s not a hard decision to make.

You’ll also want to factor your staff members’ and volunteers’ psyches into the equation. If you give them tools that are aimed to succeed (not frustrate), trust is built in you as a decision maker. Taking it a step further, having solid, integrated systems also gives line-level workers more security and confidence in the processes necessary to serve the organization’s mission.

As you can see, the benefits of trust permeate throughout an organization. Taking the time to build trust in every aspect of your cause — including your software platforms — can go a long way toward making sure your organization’s mission is being fulfilled.

Shawn Kendrick holds an MBA from Ohio Dominican University and has over a decade of experience in the nonprofit and business sectors.

Tell Everyone About a Great Nonprofit In This Month’s Top-Rated Awards!

Do you support, or work for, a nonprofit that supports Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Queer communities? Do you support, or work for, a nonprofit that promotes children and families?

Five Steps to Register for Federal Grants

Reprinted from GrantProse, Inc.

Is Social Media Right for Your Organization?

Last month, an anonymous reader asked this question in response to "Who's in Charge of Communications These Days?"

The article confirms what I already knew: my all volunteer group is going to whither on the vine because we have no staff at all. I am 56, not of the social media generation and have to choose between my existing duties (running our small cat rescue) I can't be monitoring 4 different social media sites, blogging & doing what I need. WHAT ARE WE TO DO?

"Wow," we thought, "great question." And then we turned around and posed it to the article's author and four other nonprofit social media leaders. Here's what they said.

Entering the New World of Strategic Planning

There was time when every nonprofit would have a long-range plan that it would roll out when completing grant applications or pitching for major gifts. Donors expected it—they wanted to know that the organization knew what it would be doing in five years, or even further out. Today donors are just as interested in a nonprofit's future focus and boards still need to be forward thinking to move the organization toward fulfilling its mission, but the days of "long-range" planning may be over.

Is social media right for your organization?

Last month, an anonymous reader asked the following question in response to a GuideStar Newsletter article:

Turning Leaders into Learners

A few months ago, Phil Buchannan of the CEP had an interesting blog exploring the career trajectories of the current CEOs of the 100 largest foundations – a job Phil calls “the very juiciest of the plum philanthropy jobs.” He reports that his researchers found that the majority – 60 of the 100 CEOs – came from outside foundations. Only 21 were promoted internally – that is, their previous position was as an executive at the same foundation where they now work as CEO. The rest came from a variety of backgrounds, but were certainly not insiders.

New GuideStar Exchange How To Videos

Posted By Jose Fernandez on June 4th, 2012

The tool to help you assess the health of your nonprofit is here!

The following is a post by Usma Ziard, GuideStar’s senior marketing manager. You can reach her at