My first nonprofit job was in 1996 as a door-to-door canvasser to raise money for the Florida Public Interest Research Group. It was hard and felt like a crapshoot. But it taught me the value of perseverance and not taking no for an answer. I canvassed for six summers in my teens and twenties, all the while knowing there had to be a more efficient way to reach our potential supporters. We were a kick-ass group and we knew that the right people would support us when we found them.
As nonprofits, we spend a lot of time trying to find the needles in a haystack of new donors. Canvassing, phone banking, direct mail, and events all take a ton of work and then we get criticized for spending this time. What if we could get in front of donors in their context: while connecting with friends (Facebook), reading the news (PublicGood.com), shopping (Amazon), at work (Benevity), managing their finances (Fidelity, Schwab, Vanguard).
At GuideStar, I work to make this happen. When nonprofits share information with us, we want to get it out through as many of these different channels as possible. We want to connect these nonprofits to the donors and foundations most likely to support them.
One of the most powerful ways we do this is with our APIs (application programming interfaces). APIs enable other organizations to integrate GuideStar's technology into their website and applications.
Hundreds of partners use our APIs to give their users real-time access to GuideStar data to:
- Search through 1.6 million nonprofits to find the ones of most interest
- View a snapshot of essential details (e.g., mission statement, address, etc.)
- Analyze in-depth information on program results, financial history, key staff, etc.
- Verify that a charity is currently in good standing with the IRS
- Auto-populate forms, such as grant or product donation applications
- Support disbursement of donations
Nonprofits share great information through GuideStar. Our job is to ensure it’s as easy as possible for developers to access and share that information. Over the last year, we’ve gone back to the drawing board to create the most powerful APIs possible.
We interviewed dozens of technologists from large and small companies to hear what they liked, didn’t like, and wanted to see in our APIs. Several rounds of prototyping later we’ve come up with an organization, architecture, and support structure that address the needs we heard. Today, we are launching the results of that work.
Our next generation APIs:
- Enable more powerful and relevant searches. Our new APIs also offer the same sophisticated search filters and results as GuideStar Pro.
- Provide more in-depth information. We’ve added new financial fields, pre-calculated metrics, expanded people information, and other key information provided directly by nonprofits.
- Transition seamlessly from testing and evaluation to full integration. Our free trial APIs are production APIs that provide the same experience and data as our purchased APIs.
- Support developers through robust documentation and other resources. We’ve overhauled our API documentation and developer community.
- Ensure 99.9% uptime. The new architecture lives completely in the cloud, enabling smooth scaling up of our APIs to meet customer demand.
We’re confident you’ll find the new GuideStar APIs powerful tools to connect the right donors with the right organizations. To learn more, please visit our API overview page.
Please also continue to share your feedback in the GuideStar Community so that we can continue to improve our products to help you change the world.
Evan Paul is GuideStar's vice president, products.