One of the greatest challenges facing the nonprofit sector is our inability to clearly compare the activities and performance of diverse organizations. Historically, nonprofit leaders have struggled to compare and benchmark their organizations, and donors have used simplistic metrics—like overhead ratios—to judge performance.
The question, then, is how can we consistently answer key questions about organizations? For example: What programs or services does the organization offer? Where do they provide their services? What kinds of results and impact are they achieving? How financially stable are they? What is the makeup of their board and staff?
GuideStar helps answer these questions with our standard and comparable profiles of nonprofit organizations. We challenged ourselves to create the next generation of Nonprofit Profiles: how could we make it easy for you to use GuideStar Nonprofit Profiles to answer questions like these, and more? Moreover, how could we refresh the user experience and under-the-hood performance to deliver a top-notch experience on modern devices?
Today, we are pleased to announce the beta release of our redesigned GuideStar Nonprofit Profiles. We encourage you to visit GuideStar to explore and provide us feedback on this new profile design.
Some of the elements that you’ll notice that are different include:
Greater emphasis on programs and results
Through our partnership with Independent Sector and BBB Wise Giving Alliance, we created a set of standard questions called the Charting Impact questions. These provide a standard logic model for organizations to describe how they think about their goals, programs, and results. To date, this information has been buried as an ancillary PDF. In the redesign, we are making it very prominent and in the Programs & Results section of the page.
We’ve also made the cause and service area of the organization much more apparent so nonprofit managers and foundation staff can easily identify relevant partners, grantees, etc.
Interactive data visualization and pre-calculated metrics for financial data
For our GuideStar Premium and Pro users, we visualized a wealth of historical financial data on profile pages to better enable nonprofit managers and foundation staff to see trends in an organization’s financial performance, their financial stability, their revenue model, and their major funders. Note that nonprofits who have updated their profiles to the Gold level can access GuideStar Premium for free.
The new interactive data visualization illustrates how revenue and expenses have changed over time (click images to enhance.)
The Financials section of the page also includes key metrics, such as months of cash, liquidity, and their net gain/loss year-over-year.
Visualizations of staff size over time, board governance practices, and the diversity of the organization
The composition and size of an organization’s staff and board are critical to its success. We are working to support more thoughtful and informed conversations around nonprofit compensation, governance, and diversity. The information nonprofits have entered into their profiles on their organizational demographics will be displayed to all users in an easier to read format. GuideStar Premium and GuideStar Pro users will also see new interactive visualizations showing the size of the organization’s staff over time.
With today’s launch of our beta release, we are eager to gather users’ feedback to both find and fix bugs as well as to ensure that the profile pages are displaying properly. Given the wide diversity of organizations and data types we’ve been wrangling in the redesign, this is no small task! We hope you’ll take a few minutes to review several profile pages and provide us with your feedback through the survey link at the bottom of the page.
This is the first of several significant redesigns we’ll be making on GuideStar.org to better support your strategic planning, landscape analysis, benchmarking, partnership exploration, and grantmaking.
In support of all that you do to make a better world,