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

Jasmine Marrow

Recent Posts by Jasmine Marrow:

We’ve Changed the Way We Collect and Share Demographic Data!

As we launch a new and improved Demographics section of the Nonprofit Profiles on GuideStar, I’m having a very familiar feeling. 

Giving Donors and Funders Context for Your Platinum Metrics

We recently launched our 2019 Seals of Transparency on GuideStar. This year, we’ve added new features to the Platinum Seal to help donors and funders better understand the metrics shared by nonprofits. (To learn more about the different Seals and where Platinum fits in, see this recent post by Candid’s Eva Nico.)

We’ve Added 200+ New Metrics to the Platinum Common Results Catalog!

What will you see in the new and improved GuideStar Common Results Catalog (CRC)? It’s been over two years since we’ve launched the Platinum Seal of Transparency, and we’re continuing to learn a ton from our participants!

What We’re Learning about Nonprofits’ DEI Journeys

A few years ago, I came across this quote:

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

James Baldwin

It immediately struck a chord. In my personal life, I think of this often for everything from my health to my relationships. In my professional life, I’m an analyst at GuideStar. I keep this quote framed on my desk to remind me why analyzing and improving nonprofit data is so important. The data that nonprofits collect and report isn’t just information in a database. It has the power to shape decisions.

In recent years, the sector has begun to focus on data collection for organizational diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

One Year of GuideStar Platinum: Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future

This month we’re celebrating the one-year anniversary of our Platinum Seal of Transparency. Platinum is GuideStar’s highest level of recognition and an opportunity for nonprofits to share their progress in a meaningful way.

The Nonprofit Summer Games Closing Ceremonies

Thank you so much to all of the nonprofits that played in the first-ever Nonprofit Summer Games! We hope you all enjoyed participating as much as we enjoyed hosting.

Now for the official announcement of which organization(s) won each round, along with other key highlights from the games. Congratulations to all! (Note: all winners were selected at random from the participants in their events.)

Win Up to $500 in the Nonprofit Summer Games

You don't have to travel to Rio this summer in order to go for the Gold—or Platinum. Here's how to win big by representing your organization in GuideStar's first-ever Nonprofit Summer Games!

Green 2.0 Reports Lack of Transparency about Diversity by Major Environmental Funders, While Many Smaller Foundations Disclosed Data

Green 2.0 announced that one year from their initial call for transparent diversity data – and months after the Presidents of the Bullitt, Ford, Hewlett, Kresge, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and Wilburforce Foundations jointly echoed the need for data sharing by environmental funders – a majority of the 40 biggest funders of environmental work declined to share diversity data on their GuideStar profiles. Green 2.0 reports that many funders outside of the top 40 disclosed their employee and board information. This summer, the six foundation presidents co-signed a letter urging their peers to upload data by August 15. The deadline was extended to September 15, 2015.

Want to Increase Nonprofit Funding? Start by Increasing your Transparency

On July 16th, GuideStar partnered with GlobalGiving, Foundant Technologies, and The California Endowment for a live demonstration on how nonprofits can update their GuideStar Nonprofit Profile and give their organization the potential to increase its funding through major foundations, corporate giving portals, and individual donors. In case you missed it, click here to download the full recording and slides from this webinar. As a follow up, here our panelists answer some of the most popular questions attendees asked during and after the event!

What are the “red flags” that grantmakers look out for when reviewing applications?
There are many and I think you should gather feedback from multiple funders on this subject but I’ll focus on one that I hear over and over again. Grantmakers typically want to hear your story in very concise terms with limited “fluff”. Grantmakers receive many applications and it is a tremendous amount of work to read and evaluate each proposal so there’s a reason why they do things like place character limits on each question on their online grant application forms. There are exceptions, but most grantmakers view lengthy applications with supporting materials such as multimedia, annual reports and copies of the invitation from the annual fundraising gala as a burden that costs them valuable time. Focus your efforts on telling the concise story of why you are the most qualified organization to deliver results that will maximize the use of the grantmaker’s funding. - Daren Nordhagen

How can nonprofits work together even though they're, in a sense, in competition with one another?
Great question and you're right, nonprofits definitely compete for the same funds. But this doesnt mean they don't see value in collaborating and it's not unusual for organizations to group together in a single proposal to a large donor. When it comes to fundraising on the GlobalGiving platform, we have seen different organizations raising funds for the same program when they are all involved in that program. But when it comes to sharing individual donor bases, this is less common. Individual donor relationships are really difficult to cultivate and organizations rarely share this information with others. - Linda Oatley

What’s one top way to attract the attention of grantors?
Share you stories of success AND failure. Everyone rushes to tell grantmakers about their success stories and it is critical that you show how you deliver successful outcomes. However, I believe that the willingness to share your failures and lessons learned along the way can help you stand out from the crowd. Sharing such stories helps demonstrate that you’re comfortable in your own skin and have gained valuable experience in the causes that you serve. -DN

Any tips on how to find new sources of revenue besides government and foundation grants?
Crowdfunding is a great source of revenue that doesn't involve grants. Alternatively, organizations that have the right set-up can charge membership fees or have revenue-generating activities. But the alternative we talk about most is crowdfunding (and GlobalGiving of course!) to fill the revenue gap. - LO

What advice do you have for nonprofits where transparency is not a true value of fellow officers?
In the age of digital information, a story is being told about your organization whether or not you choose to participate. Grantmakers and other donors have access to a wealth of public information as well as the social media dialogue about all nonprofits. At a minimum, nonprofits should be monitoring these channels to protect their brand from negative dialogue. More strategic thinking nonprofits should be leveraging their public data profiles to create positive momentum for their image. - DN

What are some tools to increase public/stakeholder understanding of organization's role/benefit to community?
Definitely check out Nesta's DIY toolkit and Feedback Store for tools to collect and analyze community feedback. GlobalGiving also just launched GG Rewards (learn more here.) We’re using gamification, incentives, and behavioral economics to encourage organizations to listen to the people they serve, to act on what they hear by testing new ideas, and to learn faster and more efficiently. (We call this the Cycle of Progress: Listen, Act, Learn. Repeat.) - LO

What do grantmakers really look for in the finances of NPOs in order to make a decision to fund or not?
Each funder has different criteria by which they assess nonprofits. Ultimately, funders want to make sure that their investments are not just programmatically sound, but financially sound as well. Here are a few of the items The California Endowment reviews when considering funding requests. These items don’t necessarily mean we opt out of funding, but rather consider how our funding will empower the organization to success. Funders can look at the diversity of an organization’s funding stream. Are there multiple sources of funding or a single large funder over an extended period of time. Does the organization have audited financials? If so, are there any red flags, legal expenses, unpaid payroll taxes. How much operating reserve is available? - DE

Any tips for how nonprofits can attract new funders?
Complete your GuideStar profile as a first step and utilize your existing funding sources to help you make new connections! - DE

Thank you to Linda Oatley, Director, Partner Services Team, GlobalGiving, Dolores Estrada, Manager, Grants Administration, The California Endowment, and Daren Nordhagen, PResident, Foundant Technologies for partnering with GuideStar in this webinar and answering the preceding attendee questions. Want more GuideStar Webinars? Click here to register for our upcoming Impact Call August 10, 2015 at 2pm ET. See you there!

16 Top Nonprofits Working in the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Sector Identified by 82 Experts

“[O]nce we can secure access to clean water and to adequate sanitation facilities for all people, irrespective of the difference in their living conditions, a huge battle against all kinds of diseases will be won." -- Dr Lee Jong-Wook, Director-General, World Health Organization.