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

Updating your GuideStar Nonprofit Profile Just Got Easier! Here’s Why.

We are pleased to launch our new user interface for updating your GuideStar Nonprofit Profile, which we hope will make it easier than ever to claim and update your GuideStar profile. As I’m sure you already know, every tax-exempt nonprofit registered with the IRS already has a profile on GuideStar, but many only have information from their organization’s IRS records—that is, until they take the opportunity to update their Nonprofit Profile. And this ability to take control of your organization’s profile is something that we believe really empowers nonprofits to tell a stronger story about the causes they care about and why. The refreshed interface is all about making it easier and faster for organizations to update their Nonprofit Profiles for immediate, wide-reaching access to foundations, grantmakers, donors, and nonprofits alike.

Tell your Organization’s Story

Even though finances are an essential foundation, your organization is so much more than your IRS information. Also, in the broader social sector, GuideStar Nonprofit Profiles are a funder’s one-stop shop to review information about your organization’s financials, programs, board, mission, impact, and employee compensation, to name a few.

Updating your Nonprofit Profile to reach the Bronze, Silver, Gold, and soon our forthcoming Platinum participation level—which will ask how your organization measures impact and outcomes—demonstrates your commitment to transparency and, we hope, helps connect you to donors and partner organizations. Moreover, your GuideStar Nonprofit Profile connects you to a data distribution network of more than 120 organizations, including AmazonSmile, VolunteerMatch, and all major U.S. based donor-advised funds.

Designed to help you to get your information out to the world

Our motivation to update the overall “update your profile” user experience was threefold: first and foremost, we want to make it easier for you to meet your goals. We hope the updated interface is easier to work with.

Second, we wanted to adopt a product design process centered around frequent user testing so we could get a better pulse on what works (and what doesn’t.) We got a lot of great feedback on our prototypes to guide our design iterations, pinpointing critical improvements along the way. (Also: we want to extend a huge THANK YOU to all of the folks who participated in our user testing sessions!)

Thirdly, we want to provide all our update features to all our users no matter what device they use, so we’ve started transitioning to a responsive web design. We will keep incrementally improving the user experience over time, but we’re thrilled to release this first version this summer.

Here are some key features that we hope you will find helpful:

The progress bar helps easily track your road to Gold The progress bar helps easily track your road to Gold


1) Tracking your progress
Not sure whether your Nonprofit Profile is up to date? Now you can review the date of your last update right on top of the summary page to ensure your information is current. Also, the progress bar at the top of each screen shows exactly how close your nonprofit is to becoming a GuideStar Gold level participant—a feature we hope will encourage more nonprofits to push their profiles to the next level.

2) Clearer questions and progression through the sections
We reviewed the wording of every question that leads your organization through the profile-updating process to make them as clear and concise as possible. Also, we re-ordered the sections to make it more intuitive for a user to move through the “medal” levels and achieve the various membership benefits.

3) Get to Bronze in 15 minutes
Time is a resource we’re all short of in the nonprofit sector, so we want to help organizations focus their time on the programmatic metrics that matter to most to donors. We’ve reduced the number of non-required fields your nonprofit needs to answer before reaching each participation level.

4) Easy access to AmazonSmile
AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon that lets customers enjoy the same experience of shopping on Amazon.com—but the difference is that when customers shop on AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com,) the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organizations selected by customers. You can update AmazonSmile information directly on your GuideStar account. Our AmazonSmile section includes all of the required information fields your 501(c)3 eligible nonprofit needs to complete to start reaping benefits each time donors shop.

Explanations and tool tips help clarify reasons behind specific questions Explanations and tool tips help clarify reasons behind specific questions

5) User-friendly experience
We hope the user experience feels easy to understand and easy to use—and we welcome your feedback on how to make it better. This refreshed “update your profile” section is created by a nonprofit, for nonprofits—we want this to work beautifully for you. We plan to keep iterating and testing so that we can keep learning how to improve and simplify the update process.

This Is Just the Beginning

More changes are on the way for your nonprofit’s profile on GuideStar—we are also working on refreshing the design of the Nonprofit Profile pages, too. Keep checking our blog to get real-time updates about our soon-to-launch new GuideStar Nonprofit Profile pages, Platinum participation level, GuideStar Community, and more!

Sarah Madden Sarah Madden

Have you updated your Nonprofit Profile with the updated interface? (If not, what are you waiting for?) What do you think of our new GuideStar Nonprofit Profile update experience? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or email our team.

The preceding is a post by Sarah Madden, GuideStar's Director of Design.

Topics: Impact