Sometimes, a blog editor has to state the obvious: combining organizations takes a tremendous amount of work. Since Foundation Center and GuideStar joined forces last February, there’s been a lot going on behind the scenes. Tomorrow you’ll see some of the fruits of these labors when we launch a new candid.org. As part of that launch, we’re retiring the GuideStar Blog and replacing it with a new one, the Candid Blog.
So this will be the last GuideStar Blog post. Don’t worry if you forget—tomorrow we’ll add a note at the top of all GuideStar Blog pages linking to the Candid Blog. And don’t worry that good information for fundraising, boards, best practices, and more is going away—it’s not. It will just have a new home. And we’re keeping the archives here.
I’m excited to see the Candid Blog come to life. But I’d like to take a moment to bid farewell to the GuideStar Blog.
Valediction for the GuideStar Blog
Lindsay Nichols created the GuideStar Blog soon after she joined GuideStar in July 2010. Courtney Cherico Hall took it over when she joined GuideStar in February 2014. I became the editor when Courtney moved on to greener pastures in November 2016. (Lindsay had already gone on to bigger and better things in June 2015.)
Lindsay set the standard for the blog: interesting posts on myriad topics related to nonprofits. She published content by outside experts as well as GuideStar staff and wrote a number of posts herself. Courtney and I added our own touches, but Lindsay built the foundation.
One of the things that has intrigued me during my tenure as editor is which posts get the most views. When I published a post, I’d play a little game with myself, predicting how popular that post would be. Often I was right. But once in a while, you’d surprise me.
In 2016, “A Brief Analysis of the Clinton and Trump Foundations” placed first, followed by “FASB Modifies Not-for-Profit Accounting Rules.” The first one didn’t surprise me, because it was a contentious election year. The second one astounded me. It also made me really happy. When I published that post, I thought, “I’m publishing this because it’s important. It doesn’t matter if not many people read it.” But you did! Obviously, there was greater need for this information than I realized.
If you’d like to see which posts people read most in a specific year, here are the round-ups we did for 2015 through 2018:
A few minutes ago, a colleague asked me if I had a favorite post. I do, “Clearing Up the Myth about GuideStar and the Overhead Ratio.” I wrote it five years ago to defend GuideStar against the misconception that we had once advocated using financial ratios to evaluate charities. (Just to be clear: we didn’t. Ever.) That topic is near and dear to my heart, but that’s not the only reason I like this post so much. In descending order, I like it because:
I got to take a stand. Usually, I have to remain nonpartisan, because the GuideStar database contains organizations with different points of view, some diametrically opposed to each other. I’m probably the biggest proponent of our nonpartisanship—just ask some of my colleagues here at Candid—because every nonprofit in the database is a stakeholder. But it was refreshing to veer off the nonpartisan path in this post.
I got to unleash my inner mother tiger. I take my responsibility to present things in a balanced fashion very seriously. But in this case, I could be passionate.
I got to kick off the post with a movie reference and a poodle reference. (Hence the photo at the beginning of this post. It was taken about two weeks before the Sweater Incident mentioned in “Clearing Up the Myth.”) Which, frankly, was just plain fun to do.
Recently HubSpot, the online platform undergirding this blog, published “some of the best examples to inspire your business’s blogging efforts.” I am honored to say the GuideStar Blog was one of three listed under education and nonprofits. The description says:
No matter the type of foundation you work for, this blog is a place where you can learn about all sides of running or volunteering for a nonprofit. Their blog posts provide a summary of nonprofit news, best practices, and information about leaders.
The blog covers all aspects of non-profit work including latest trends, tips, and news so there’s information for volunteers and leaders of all kinds.
Blog posts educate readers on what successful organizations are doing and which strategies they’re implementing so they too can give them a try.”
These have been my goals for the blog since I took over as editor. It’s gratifying to know that at least one person—who has no connection to Candid—feels we achieved them. And to my mind, it’s a lovely summary as we wrap up the GuideStar Blog. (I won’t go so far as to call it a “eulogy,” although the thought did cross my mind.)
This approach will be part of the Candid Blog, but that blog will have a broader mandate, because Candid has many more activities than GuideStar did. What won’t change is my colleagues’ and my commitment to publishing information you find useful. Tomorrow’s post, the very first Candid Blog post, will have a brief survey asking which topics interest you. I hope you’ll have a chance to chime in.
The GuideStar Blog is dead. Long live the Candid Blog!
Suzanne Coffman is Candid’s editorial director.