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GuideStar Blog

From the President's Office, April 2009

Dear Friend:

What do you think of our completely new GuideStar Web site?

As always, our goal was to make it easier for you to get what you want from GuideStar. Here are just a few of the changes we have made to improve the site for all of our users:

  • Navigation is more intuitive.
    You can still search our database directly from the home page and the top of all other pages. If you want other information, three convenient buttons will take you to sections designed for different audiences. Because we don't want to limit how you use the site, we haven't tied these sections to how you identified yourself when you registered with us but instead to the action you want to take.
  • Donors now have a section of the site just for them.
    We've always had information for donors, but it wasn't easy to find. Now we link to those resources from one place, our new "Give to Charity" page. Read more about new features for donors
  • You can get more information without registering or logging in.
    You no longer need to log in to read an organization's mission statement, program descriptions, goals, and accomplishments. This information—and more—is available to anyone who comes to our site, even if they have never registered with us.
  • Charity reviews have been added to the reports available to non-subscribers.
    Reviews appear for more than 400 organizations, and more are being added every day. Anyone can read or write reviews, which are made possible by our partnership with GreatNonprofits. We are excited to give our users access to this powerful tool, which presents the information that really matters when you're evaluating a charity: how effectively it accomplishes its mission.
  • The GuideStar Exchange has launched.
    We've taken the best of our old nonprofit participation system and built on it to provide the information donors and funders want. The Exchange also gives nonprofit managers more engaging ways to connect with donors, including the ability to upload photos and link to video. Read more about the GuideStar Exchange
  • Nonprofit reports are now compliant with IRS regulations for verifying charitable status and deductibility.
    Several of you have asked why we removed the 501(c) designation, or subsection code, from the reports available to non-subscribers. While we were developing our new site, we were surprised to learn that some of you were using the subsection code to verify charitable status as part of a pre-grant due-diligence process. According to the IRS, any organization verifying charitable status and deductibility should rely on IRS Publication 78 and its weekly updates. Checking the subsection code alone does not meet IRS guidance for verifying charitable status. To minimize risk to our users (giving gifts or grants to unqualified organizations can result in fines for the donating/granting organization), we removed the subsection code from the non-subscriber reports. If you are verifying charitable status for grantmaking purposes, you need to rely on Publication 78 and its updates or a service such as GuideStar Charity Check. Read more about GuideStar Charity Check

We made many other changes. Some you can see, others are behind the scenes. I'd be interested in your feedback on our new site.


Bob Ottenhoff
President and CEO

Topics: GuideStar