What picture do you have in your mind when you think of GuideStar? For some it is a reference library—like the great central libraries of a university or city—where people can come to research and study. For me, it is a town square or a vibrant community, where people interact for a variety of reasons—to gather information, to provide resources, to meet others, and to exchange ideas. I see a GuideStar that is dynamic—not static—a GuideStar whose data and tools empower and enable people to take action on their passions and do their jobs better.
The power of the Internet gives us the ability to make those connections more vivid—not just between you and GuideStar but between GuideStar users as well. During the last few months, we've tried to begin harnessing some of the energy of social media to help encourage a better sense of community. Have you seen my blog yet? Are you one of GuideStar's fans on Facebook? Following us onTwitter? I hope you'll take a look and get involved.
I posted my first blog entry April 2. In it, I said:
With this blog, I want to contribute to the larger conversation about nonprofit transparency, especially as it applies to the casual donor. I want to listen to your ideas and help you to frame your thinking when you consider donating.
My end goal: to increase demand for nonprofit transparency and data in order to help donors make better decisions and help nonprofits to become more effective.
But, as so often happens at GuideStar, initiatives designed to reach out to donors have proved to be equally relevant to nonprofits. I've found that the majority of comments about my blog are from people associated with nonprofits. I appreciate their feedback. I especially enjoy being able to have almost real-time conversations with them.
I also like the casual, almost free-form nature of blogging. So far, I've reported on learning experiences from the University of Richmond, Atlanta, California, and Washington, D.C. I've found myself reflecting on what makes a good conference, reviewing the results of our latest economic survey, and speculating about the future of the sector. It's fun giving people a peek into my day-to-day activities and the thoughts they provoke.
My colleagues have embraced mini-blogging on GuideStar's behalf via Facebook and Twitter. We like being able to reach an engaged audience, and we like being able to tell them about developments here as they happen. We also like pointing our fans and followers to things that catch our eye, such as news articles about the sector, and updates about our partner organizations.
We hope all this will help you think of GuideStar as a community: a place where you can come to find quality data about the nonprofit sector, access cool tools and services to make your task easier, and engage others in a dialogue about how to make better decisions and improve the impact of our work.
President and CEO