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

Connecting with Community Foundations: Your Partner Next Door

My colleague Jillian Rosen and I were both at grantseeking organizations before we joined the community foundation field. Having engaged with many other foundations during that time, I learned to deeply value the nature of community foundations—they are inherently more accessible, engaged, and respectful than many other institutional funders. It’s why we’re both so grateful to be working at a community foundation and pleased to present some background and tips for how YOU can engage YOUR community foundation.


9 Ways to Engage and Motivate Your Board Members to Raise Money

Recently I provided a webinar for Candid (formerly GuideStar and Foundation Center) called How to Engage Board Members in Fundraising in 15 Minutes Per Month (recording available here). There were a number of great questions at the end of the webinar.

I promised the attendees I would respond in a blog post. This is that post, and I thought my regular readers (like you) would benefit from the answers, too.


To Take Notes in Meetings with Donors or Not …That Is the Question!

And the answer is ...

In almost every case I think it’s totally fine to take notes. I have taken notes for 35 years, in more than 3,000 meetings with donors. Not in every meeting, but in the vast majority.


Replacing an Iconic Nonprofit Leader

A not-for-profit organization is blessed when its executive director or CEO stays for a lengthy tenure. A leader who stays for 10, 15, or even 20 years usually means stability, respect, and success around the mission. If wildly successful or even the founder of the organization, the individual may be deemed an icon.


The One Action Needed to be a Successful Fundraiser

Markita Andrews was thirteen when she was interviewed on NBC morning television. At the time, she was the all-time champion seller of Girl Scout cookies—eleven thousand boxes in a year. 


Pay Attention to the Information Reported on Form 990—It Could Alert You to the Fact That Something Is Terribly Wrong

The college admissions cheating scandal is all over the news, and rightfully so. This story involves the rich and famous, some of the most elite universities and colleges in the nation, and a nonprofit organization that allegedly engineered more than 800 bribes and other initiatives to benefit the children of its wealthy “donors.” The scandal involved everything from cheating on college admission tests to bribing athletic departments to giving students sports scholarships that they did not deserve.


The Value of ROI Analysis in Technology Grant Writing

Want to write a technology grant application that is a no-brainer for a funder to approve? Then don’t forget to explain the project’s return on investment (ROI) in the proposal.


7 Essential Tips for Growing Your Nonprofit Meetup

You have an excellent idea for your nonprofit to help those in need. It’s a series of meetups to help your target audience in some way. 

You’ve worked endlessly on designing the schedule. You did your outreach. 

You’re all ready to go. 

But—on the day of the event, there are more empty chairs than occupied ones. 

What went wrong? The event is free, and it offers an excellent service. Is there a way to grow your audience to ensure seats won’t be empty again? 

Absolutely


6 Fundraising Questions to Ask Yourself Today

I recently had the honor to be part of a panel discussion releasing a new report on the state of fundraising in the U.S.


For the Benefit of All: How Our DEI Work Supports the Social Sector

In 2018, Candid launched a new live, online training series, “All Together Now: Conversations in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI),” to raise awareness about funding for racial equity efforts.


Blogging and Email Marketing Are Like Peanut Butter and Jam: Better Together

Online marketing is one of the most effective ways to get the word out about your nonprofit.

But many nonprofit leaders still have a lot of questions about how the different pieces of an online marketing strategy can fit together.


IRS Tips for Form 990 Filers

Exactly one month from today, millions of nonprofits will face the filing deadline for their annual information returns, i.e., IRS Form 990-N, 990-EZ, 990, or 990-PF. With that deadline in mind, we thought it would be a good time to share the IRS’s tips for 990 filers.


Bridging the Nonprofit Knowledge Gap Together

It’s been almost two months exactly since Foundation Center and GuideStar joined forces to become a brand new nonprofit entity known as Candid. These two infrastructure organizations have a long history with the IS [Independent Sector] community, and it’s quite a feat to have completed a merger on this scale, bringing together more than 85 years of combined expertise and experience.


Avoiding Burnout and Building a Positive Organizational Culture

It’s 2019, and by now, you’re probably all too familiar with one of the great scourges of the modern workplace: burnout. It’s the uniquely current sensation of exhaustion from feeling like you need to be working all the time.

And for those of us who work in nonprofits, sometimes that feeling can be exacerbated by the importance of the work we’re doing; after all, when your job is to make the world a better place, time spent not doing your job is time not making the world a better place. There’s a sense that we always need to be doing more with less.


Pulling Back the Veil: Top 5 Things Grantees and Funders Wish the Other Knew

Black Fox Philanthropy and Candid (formerly Foundation Center, which recently combined with GuideStar to form a brand new organization) co-hosted a gathering for capacity building partners and NGOs at Opportunity Collaboration last October. Why? We had a burning question for the Funder and NGO attendees that could help clear a path to stronger alliances and greater impact:

“What do you wish each other knew that would make a difference in your relationships, how you do your work in the world, and the impact you are having?”


Succession Planning: Leading by Sharing Power

In 1986, I killed my first nonprofit organization.

That wasn’t my plan. In fact, there wasn’t any plan.


The Importance of Video on Social Media

As the popularity of social media has risen over the last few years, marketing campaigns have seen a shift as well. Traditional print or media advertisements have made way for videos on social media, aimed toward consumers of content. And the shift makes sense: videos encourage engagement through click-throughs, shares, or donations for nonprofits. Many users find videos helpful when finding causes to support or places to volunteer. People are more likely to choose video over text, and 95 percent of viewers remember a video ad rather than a blog or text ad.


How About a Money-Back Guarantee for Donors?

In the commercial world, money-back guarantees are everywhere. They are a cost of doing business if you want to sell anything to anyone, and theyre increasingly gutsy. We see guarantees of double (even triple) your money back and other elaborate guarantees that might make you ask how those who make these guarantees stay in business.


So You Don’t Think Race, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Are Relevant to Your Mission

A few months ago, I was talking at a conference about what race, equity, diversity, and inclusion look like in every day practices. “These concepts have been like coconut water,” I said, “everyone’s drinking them after hot yoga. But how are we actually changing our hiring, communications, board governance, evaluation, fundraising, and other areas?”


Reduce Payment Processing Costs and Build Your Sustaining Donor Roster

Few of us think twice when we pull out a card to pay for a shopping cart full of groceries or a plane ticket. We enjoy the cashback or miles we’ll be getting, and whatever the merchant has to pay in processing fees is of no concern to us.


Is Your Fundraising Appeal Cluttered? That Won’t Do

Marie Kondo is the high priestess of tidying up. The essence of her method, which everybody’s heard of by now, is this: If a thing gives you joy, you keep it. If it doesn’t, you thank it and let it go.


How Gender, Race, and Ethnicity Affect Charitable Giving

Do race and ethnicity affect women’s giving? A new report from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute provides insight into this question.