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

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

In early April we announced the launch of our newly expanded Membership Program, designed to incorporate individuals, nonprofits, and professionals working in the nonprofit sector into our community of GuideStar funders. We are thrilled to announce that we recently welcomed our 50th Founding Member – meeting our goal of 50 new members within the first two months of launch.

Membership at GuideStar is about more than benefits and incentives. It’s about supporting the free service that we offer to 99 percent of our online visitors. It’s about giving nonprofits a platform to reach out to millions of new donors and funders, and offering donors a breadth of information from which to make responsible giving decisions. Most importantly, we’re working together to connect people with the causes they care about, to help drive dollars and resources to high-performing nonprofits that are working to make a difference.

Bob Pierce, GuideStar's 50th Founding Member

That’s why we were so excited to meet Bob Pierce, our 50th Founding Member, who’s no stranger to making a difference every day in his community. We asked him to shed some light on his background and relationship with GuideStar, and were thrilled when he sent us the following responses.

Q: Where do you work and what do you do there?

A: I am currently the Vice President for University Advancement at The University of Southern Mississippi and the Executive Director of the USM Foundation. I have been in these roles for two years following almost 12 years as the Executive Director of the Southern Miss Alumni Association. My number one job is to secure private contributions for the betterment of Southern Miss students, faculty and staff.

Q: How long have you been using GuideStar, and what do you use it for?

A: I was first introduced to GuideStar in 2002 when I was a Graduate Assistant in the University of Alabama’s Advancement Office. I was conducting a research project identifying University of Alabama alumni serving on nonprofit boards. I now use GuideStar to find background information on various nonprofit organizations and their potential fit with fundraising initiatives at Southern Miss.

Q: What attracted you to the Membership program?

A: I became a member of GuideStar primarily as a way of saying “thank you” for the tremendous service GuideStar provides to those of us in the nonprofit sector. The information GuideStar makes available is incredible for qualifying potential donors for various needs and projects at the University.

Q: What causes are you personally passionate about?

A: Obviously, Southern Miss is first on that list. I love the opportunity to raise funds for higher education because those contributions not only make the institution stronger; they help people in a very real way. When we secure gifts for scholarships, facilities, professorships, development funds, etcetera, it positively impacts the student experience and makes for better teaching and learning. My family is also passionate about animals. In addition to us contributing personally, my 11-year-old daughter led an effort at her school to raise $1,300 for the local animal shelter this spring.

Q: Any big plans for the summer?

A:Mostly chasing my 8-year-old son’s all-star baseball team around south Mississippi. Go Hattiesburg Nationals!

To join Bob and his fellow Members, learn more and sign up here.

Lauren joined GuideStar in 2009 and is currently responsible for growing and improving its membership program. She focuses on cultivating relationships and communicating with GuideStar’s current members, attracting new and diverse funders, and researching new benefit opportunities within GuideStar’s vast portfolio of resources.

Topics: Products and Services