A GuideStar Profile Coach Tells All
Monday, August 28, 2017
By, Madeline Kardos, Marketing & Communications Associate at GuideStar, a promotional partner of Giving USA 2017
As one of GuideStar’s Nonprofit Profile coaches, I’ve heard from hundreds of nonprofits. Some are new organizations that seek to expand their audience. Many want to be more transparent online. And all ask me the same question: What’s the benefit of having a GuideStar Nonprofit Profile?
There are more reasons than I have space to write, but here are the top three benefits that I tell every nonprofit I meet: your GuideStar Nonprofit Profile will save you time, share your story with millions, and open doors to new donors—all at no cost to you!
The Basics: What Is a GuideStar Nonprofit Profile
Every nonprofit registered with the IRS as tax exempt has a profile on GuideStar. We aggregate the information in the profiles from several IRS resources, other government agencies, and the nonprofits themselves. Profiles that nonprofits have updated are the most complete and up to date. And there’s no charge to update. (Note: if your organization is tax exempt but not registered with the IRS, you can ask to be added to GuideStar.)
Your Nonprofit Profile Will . . . Save You Time
GuideStar data powers more than 200 charitable websites and applications, including AmazonSmile, Facebook, Network for Good, Just Give, and the major donor-advised funds (Fidelity Charitable, for example). In just a few hours, you can provide up-to-date information to all of these sources in one go!
Let me put this in perspective. I once helped a very frustrated man update his organization’s Nonprofit Profile. He had just spent the last six months changing his organization’s address on 80 different websites. Unfortunately for him, GuideStar was his last stop. If he had come to GuideStar six months sooner, all 80 (and more!) of those websites would have been updated much, much sooner.
Your Nonprofit Profile Will … Share Your Story with Millions
Some 8 million people visit GuideStar each year. The information you share on your Nonprofit Profile is visible not just to these 8 million users but also to the millions of people who visit our partner sites.
For example, AmazonSmile, a passive fundraising stream created by Amazon.com that has already given more than $54 million to charities, displays GuideStar information on its website. When an Amazon user chooses a charity to donate a percentage of his or her purchases to, the user is provided with the charity’s mission statement, program information, and more. Here’s an example:
Likewise, Facebook recently launched a new set of tools, called Facebook Fundraisers, that allows any Facebook user to create a fundraiser for the charity of his or her choice. By adding information to your Nonprofit Profile, your organization’s name, cause area, location, and mission statement will be displayed on the fundraiser for all to see, as in the example below. You can also add a donate button directly to your nonprofit’s Facebook page. Facebook uses GuideStar data to approve these requests.
Please keep in mind, these are only two examples out of the vast network of philanthropic websites that GuideStar powers.
Your Nonprofit Profile Will … Opens Doors to New Donors
You can also raise money directly from your GuideStar Nonprofit Profile. All you need to do is authorize us to add a Donate Now button to the top of your organization’s Profile. Right now, the average for donations made through our site is $174.
… becomes this:
Getting Started with Your Nonprofit Profile
Ready to get started? Just follow the roadmap below, and you’ll be on your way!
Step 1: Gain access to your Nonprofit Profile. For security purposes, we manually approve who receives access to each Nonprofit Profile. Watch this quick 2-minute video to learn how to do so in no time.
Step 2: Earn a GuideStar Seal of Transparency. The Seals of Transparency aren’t ratings, they’re forms of recognition. Each seal represents one of the four categories of information that donors, funders, and other key decision makers are looking for. And, most important, each Seal is completely free to earn.
- A Bronze Seal provides basic information, so your organization can be found (i.e., contact information, program descriptions, etc.).
- A Silver Seal shows your basic financials, so you can grow trust with those researching your organization.
- A Gold Seal explains your long-term goals and strategies, so you can tell others about your work.
- A Platinum Seal illustrates the progress that you’ve made year-to-year, so you can show the difference you’re making.
My advice on time management:
- If you have 30 minutes today, spend it earning the Bronze Seal of Transparency. This will fill in most fields that we send to AmazonSmile.
- If you have another 15 minutes, you’ll be able to knock out earning a Silver Seal.
- Then, work your way up to Platinum. Your profile is likely to get two times as many views when you earn a Gold or Platinum Seal!
Step 3: Share your Seal on social media. Once you earn a Seal of Transparency, you’ll unlock free press release materials to celebrate your achievement. This includes images of the Seal that you can put on your website and on print materials as well as sample social media posts for Facebook, Twitter, and more.
Your GuideStar Nonprofit Profile is one of the best (free) marketing tools out there. Take advantage of it and get started today!
Still have questions? Here are five guides that will get you pointed in the right direction.
- How to get your nonprofit listed on GuideStar
- How to gain access to your organization’s profile
- How to Achieve the Bronze Seal of Transparency
- How to Qualify Your GuideStar Nonprofit Profile with the AmazonSmile Program
- How to Qualify Your GuideStar Nonprofit Profile with Facebook Fundraising Tools