The giving season is here. As is true for so many people, the next two months look to be especially busy ones for GuideStar.
Traffic to our Web site will jump as donors research their end-of-year contributions, reporters gather tips for giving wisely, and nonprofits update their GuideStar Reports. As it does throughout the year, our Information Technology staff will monitor the site's performance vigilantly during this expanded usage to ensure that it remains available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The number of telephone and e-mail inquiries—everything from forgotten passwords to finding Forms 990 on the site to questions about our products and services—will increase. Last year, customer inquiries almost doubled at the end of the year, from 3,748 in October to 5,583 in December.
Our small (five people) but effective Customer Service Department is gearing up to handle a similar upsurge. They expect to be even busier this year than they were in 2003; last month, they fielded a total of 3,948 phone calls and e-mails, a 5 percent increase over October 2003.
Many of these inquiries will come from the organizations in our database. One of the most valued parts of our Web site is the GuideStar Reports. This information is provided on a voluntary basis by nonprofits committed to improving their transparency and accountability. This year almost 90,000 organizations are expected to supply GuideStar with additional information. (You can identify these special organizations by the
icon found next to their names in the search results.)
If you have a question regarding your organization's listing or updating your information—or if you want to ask about GuideStar's products and services, navigating our Web site, or GuideStar in general—please e-mail us at email@example.com. E-mail is the most efficient way to reach us. We make every attempt to answer e-mails within two business days of receipt at GuideStar. Sometimes, however, messages simply don't reach us.
At GuideStar, providing outstanding customer service is as much a part of our commitment to public service as our Web site, posting the 990s, and our efforts to educate the public about charitable organizations and the complexities of the nonprofit sector. I hope we exceed your expectations.
President and CEO, GuideStar