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

The Great Fundraisers

In my years of consulting, I’ve discovered that highly effective fundraisers share many qualities. Before I describe two characteristics in particular, let me briefly tell you about a pair of fundraisers I’ve worked with who are utterly different in style and approach, and yet each was powerfully effective. 

How to Get Your Nonprofit Listed on GuideStar

One of the questions we hear most at GuideStar is "How can I get my organization added to your database? We want to participate in AmazonSmile [or CrowdRise or some other program]."

The answer varies, depending on what type of nonprofit your organization is and whether you're registered with the IRS. Here are the most common responses to this question:

4 traits every nonprofit board member should possess

The ideal nonprofit board member is more than a couple deep pockets. In fact, if your directors don't possess these four critical traits, your organization could be missing out on any number of strategic opportunities.

Interview with Muhammad Yunus

What Dating Taught Me About Fundraising

I fell in love with fundraising
at age seven when I created handmade “Avon” products and sold them door-to-door. The money collected from those kind neighbors was donated to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation in honor of a school friend, and I was hooked. It took me a lot longer—and a lot of dates—to fall in love. After recently getting married, I realize that those dates not only helped me find the right guy, but they taught me how to be a better fundraiser.

Board Recruiting Best Practices

As one of the leading personalized nonprofit board matching services in the country, we get asked quite a lot, “what can my board be doing better to win at the board recruiting game?” We would answer that your board is already way ahead of a lot of other nonprofits if they understand that board recruiting is indeed a competitive sport, with not enough terrific board members available to fill all the board seats that open up each year.  That’s the first step. 

How Grants Get Made (Hint: It’s By Grants Managers)

Every association likes to think that its members are changing the world, but for Grants Managers Network that is actually true. Stay with me here: the true heroes of philanthropy are the nonprofits that provide critical services and resources to the people who need them; it follows that their world-changing is directly attributable to the funding they receive from grantmakers, which simply doesn’t happen without the grants manager. From accepting the letter of interest to making sure the check gets out the door, each vital step in supporting the missions of those nonprofits sees the work of a grants management professional.

It's Time for a Quick Financial Check-Up

The year is nearly one-sixth over. What shape are your organization’s finances in?

GuideStar Impact Call Q1 2016 Follow-Up

Thanks to all
who were able to join us for our February 9th GuideStar Impact Call!

Clearing Up Confusion about U.S. Nonprofits

nine-things-cover-left-and-bottom-margins.jpgSoon after I joined GuideStar, I concluded that the U.S. nonprofit sector was complicated. Guess what? Sixteen years later, I still think that. Only now I know I'm not alone. I've also learned that the same things tend to trip up sector newbies. Nonprofit staff members, trustees, businesspersons, journalists, whoever—they generally ask the same questions. That's why my colleagues and I created "Nine Things You Might Not Know about U.S. Nonprofits," a kind of Nonprofits 101 for anyone interested in the sector. You can download the report for free from the GuideStar website.

Common nonprofit terms and concepts and what they actually mean

The GuideStar Blog is happy to welcome Vu Le of the Rainier Valley Corps as a monthly contributor in his new column, Point of Vu. We begin the series with a recent post from his wildly successful blog, Nonprofit With Balls, where Vu provides a humorous and poignant perspective on the everyday challenges and responsibilities nonprofit professionals juggle. Take it away, Vu!

Online Fundraising and Charitable Solicitation Registration

With the advent of social media, email, and “Donate Now” buttons, it is increasingly common that nonprofits solicit donations online. Part of these tools’ attractiveness is that nonprofits can reach broader audiences, and that they make giving to a cause relatively simple, at least on the surface.

Myths, Misconceptions, and Mistakes: The Wounded Warrior Project

The Wounded Warrior Project, a major nonprofit serving veterans, has found itself in the public eye. A recent article in the New York Times offered a wide-ranging analysis of the organization’s practices. That article was followed up by others in major media outlets.

Introducing the GuideStar Community—Getting You the Nonprofit Support You Need

Today, GuideStar is excited to announce the launch of its online community. GuideStar’s mission is to revolutionize philanthropy and nonprofit practice by providing information that advances transparency, enables users to make better decisions and encourages charitable giving. Our new community will allow you to share our vision and support collaboration in the nonprofit sector. But before you jump right into the community, let's check out a few of its key features.

Redefining Innovation in Today's Social Sector

Innovation exists in a number of different forms. The impression promoted by mainstream media and corporate marketing campaigns is that innovation is exclusive to groundbreaking technologies and sophisticated software. But the fact is, innovation is happening all around us, in the most simple applications and often driven by the most unlikely players.

Open Data Set to Reshape Charity and Activism in 2016

How will data affect charity and activism in 2016? This week, we look at The Guardian’s article where experts share their thoughts on what this year will hold for the growth of open data.

Across the world, countries are expanding their use and distribution of data for others to access. Last year, the EU, China, and Taiwan announced various accomplishments and goals for the use of open data by the civic groups, businesses, and governments who need to analyze it. Five of the world’s experts on open data shared their thoughts on what is to come with the expansion of access to this knowledge.

The BRIDGE Is Open! New Lookup Tool Identifies Global Social Sector Entities



One of the first projects to emerge from the Markets for Good community, GuideStar, TechSoup, GlobalGiving, and Foundation Center have been busily building a BRIDGE to Somewhere. We are proud to announce to the Markets for Good community that the project has reached an important milestone. The BRIDGE is now live, which means that organizations can find or apply for a BRIDGE ID, and that GuideStar, TechSoup, GlobalGiving, and Foundation Center will begin displaying BRIDGE IDs within their products and to power collaboration.

What Forms 990 Can and Can’t Tell Us About Wounded Warrior Project

Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), an organization whose mission is “to honor and empower Wounded Warriors” has been in the news recently, and not in a positive light.  CBS News aired a three-part series alleging that money contributed to the organization was being wasted and not doing enough to improve the lives of veterans.  Concurrently, the New York Times published a story that criticizes both spending and management practices at WWP.  As a result of these events, watchdog Charity Navigator placed WWP on its watchlist.  I wanted to look at WWP’s Forms 990 to see what I could glean from them.

Book Giveaway: Nonprofit Fundraising 101 by @dheyman

*This contest is now closed and the winner has been contacted. Thank you for entering!*

Nonprofit leaders, and fundraisers in particular, are in for a treat this new year!

How Have Organizations That Depend on Government Grants Fared?

The two major sources of funding for most public charities are contributions and program services revenue.  One important source of contributions for some public charities is government grants.  In light of the so-called Great Recession, I thought it would be interesting to look at how, if at all, revenue streams had changed for organizations that depended on government grants before the recession.