GuideStar Blog

Maximize Your Time Connecting Offline

I love the internet. It’s a weird and wondrous place that’s made my life better. I’ve met some of my best friends on the internet. I found my career (including my job at Candid) on the internet. I’ve learned so much online, whether informally through blogs and media channels or in more structured ways through online trainings and on-demand courses. I’m also thrilled to know you’ve found our particular corner of the internet on Candid’s grantspace.org.


“Does This Board Member Spark Joy?” How to Tidy Your Organization Using the KonMari Method

Have you noticed how we in this sector tend to hoard stuff? There are several reasons for this. First, we are trained to be thrappy, which is a combination of “thrifty” and “scrappy,” to keep our “overhead” low. Second, because we are empathetic, even to inanimate objects, and just the thought of these poor gala program booklets and rickety chairs being abandoned makes us sad. And third, because we’re busy making the world better and stuff, OK?


Survey Finds College Students Divided Over Free Speech vs. Inclusivity

U.S. college students are divided over whether protecting free speech under the First Amendment is more important than promoting a more inclusive society, a report from College Pulse and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation finds.


New Research on Women’s Foundations and Funds

A new report from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI), Women’s Foundations and Funds: A Landscape Study, offers key insights about the organizational characteristics and funding priorities of these groups. The following excerpts from the executive summary present the report’s major findings.

Organizational Characteristics

The women’s foundations and funds included in this study all focus on funding women and girls, and they provide grants to organizations and programs rather than individuals. But these organizations are incredibly diverse in other key ways:


The Value of Structured Professional Development

I firmly believe that an effective leader never stops learning. When learning stops, stagnation begins, which is bad for the leader (be that person staff or board) or the organization he/she serves. But just how much does a leader get from the periodic webinar, networking opportunity, or conference? And how does multi-tasking behind the anonymity of the webinar or working through emails during presentations affect the value of the time we spend on professional development?


What Does It Takes to Be Happy at Work? FRIDA Tries to Answer through the Happiness Manifestx

As a young feminist-led fund, our internal politics reflect those of the broader young feminist movement, and as such, self-care has become a central point of discussion, organizational development, and advocacy at FRIDA. We talk about care all the time. Through online campaigns such as the Solidarity Storms; offline when we meet as staff, convene our advisors, grantees, and board; and when we talk to other funders and donors. But most often we find ourselves talking about it when we are edging towards exhaustion—otherwise known as burnout. Sometimes though, out of moments of hardship, beautiful things are born.


Boost Your Fundraising by Centering Your Audience in Your Content and Engagement Strategy

At the center of every major advertising campaign you’ve seen or have been impacted by over the last half-century has been audience archetypes or personas. An audience archetype strategy is ubiquitous across the business marketing and tech worlds, but almost nonexistent in nonprofit messaging and marketing strategy. Your target audience should be at the center of your content and engagement strategy, and creating audience archetypes is how you get there.


Fundraising Lessons from Freddie Mercury & Queen

Far reach from rockstar superstardom to fundraising glory? Not really! 

Watching Bohemian Rhapsody, I couldn’t help but notice a few standout truths and values from their rise to fame. They apply as much to hardworking fundraisers, dedicated to making the world a better place, as to anyone else reaching for success.


Three Tips to Help You File a More Complete Form 990-Series Return

A tax-exempt organization using the calendar-year as its tax year must file a Form 990-series return by May 15th, unless it has filed Form 8868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File an Exempt Organization Return.

The IRS suggests organizations consider these three tips to help ensure a complete return and reduce the chances we’ll send your return back or need to request additional information:


The Donor Pyramid and Marketing Funnel Have Changed

Fundraisers used to focus on the pyramid.

Bring small donors in at the bottom. Move ’em up, incrementally, to the top. What happened was the donors at the bottom didn’t get much attention, leading to a situation where today 79 percent of first-time donors flow right out of your base. In other words, the pyramid’s base is more like a river than a solid block of bricks. Not very strong. A pretty wobbly foundation on which to base the life of your nonprofit.


The Soft Underbelly of Nonprofit Collaboration

It seems like everybody is talking about how important is for organizations to work together. Foundations, who are seeing a growing demand for their resources but want to see a greater impact for their donations, encourage organizations to work collaboratively around key issue areas, geography, and target groups. Elected officials like to see stakeholders come together to tackle problems that plague the community. After all, “it takes a village to raise a child,” and probably several villages to save the world. Organizations work collaboratively to share the workload; strengthen organizational capacity; share lessons learned; and create synergies around new and existing programs.


Program Evaluation That Works

When you’re evaluating your nonprofit programs, you need not just good data, but data that is relevant to your success.