Transparency is a hot, buzz word in the nonprofit world. If a donor logged-in recently to GuideStar, it may not have been the transparency your organization is looking for!

What are donors seeing ABOUT YOUR ORGANIZATION when they log into GuideStar? GuideStar boasts that they are the “world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organization’s”. For most of us, GuideStar is considered the largest database of nonprofit information and is the first stop when researching a nonprofit organization.

With the internet and so much on-line information, we have become a nation of reading skimmers; the organization profile page caters to this trend and user preference. With the organization profile, much of an organization’s information is now available without clicking on the link to the IRS Form 990. The organization profile availability makes your organization information front and center with potentially no need to navigate through an IRS Form.

It is critical to review your organization’s profile and make the necessary updates. When you log onto GuideStar you will find an option to “Update Nonprofit Profile”. There is a request and approval process to update the organization profile. As a nonprofit, you will enter certain organization information and request permission to update your profile. In one to two business days, GuideStar will grant you permission and you can begin uploading the organization information of your choosing.

GuideStar provides an extensive list of profile information that can be added to an organization’s profile.  GuideStar has designated types or levels of participation on their site depending on the information you provide. With each level of participation comes increased organization information posted on GuideStar.

The GuideStar levels are as follows:

  • Bronze – Basic organization information. Some examples: organization name, address, telephone, contact, website, mission, program, organization and board leadership. GuideStar estimates 15 minutes to update the organization profile for the Bronze level.
  • Silver – Bronze level information plus additional quantitative information such as: assets and liabilities, revenue and expenses, funding sources and even an option to upload your audited financial statement. GuideStar estimates 30 minutes to update the organization profile for the Silver level.
  • Gold – Silver level information plus additional qualitative information such as organization impact and process to make your impact. GuideStar estimates 60 minutes to update the organization profile for the Gold level.
  • Platinum (Coming Soon) – Gold level plus quantitative program results such as metrics used to measure your impact.

Silver or Gold level participants are eligible for discounts from professional companies that GuideStar has partnered with.

Another consideration is the fundraising websites that upload your information from GuideStar to their websites. For instance, if you want to be considered for donations on AmazonSmile, make sure you complete the AmazonSmile designated information fields in GuideStar. AmazonSmile then receives organization information from GuideStar!

For additional information on this topic, please contact your HW&Co. professional or Helen E. Weeber, CPA, Senior Manager (216) 378-7213