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Best Practices for Your GuideStar Profile

GuideStar is one of my primary “go-to” sources for information on nonprofit organizations. Their approach is to” just give the facts.” They get their information directly from the Internal Revenue Service, (IRS). Last time I looked they have information on 2.5 million charities.

There are other information-source organizations available:

  • Charity Navigator – evaluates nonprofits based on financial health, accountability, and transparency.

  • Charity Watch – considers itself the “charity watchdog” and rates nonprofits from A+ - F.

  • Great Nonprofits – is “social media-like” in that its information comes from first-person reviews.

  • IRS – the repository of all information.

I like Guidestar because it provides an opportunity for you to enhance your nonprofit’s profile. Information on your programs, financials, and board of directors will elevate your profile. Grant-makers, individual donors, researchers, and the media all want more information about the organizations and causes they support.

The first thing you need to do is claim your profile on the Guidestar website and designate a profile manager. This is free, there’s no charge to the nonprofit for being listed or adding more information to its profile. Here are some of the benefits:

· Showcase your programs and your impact

· Send fresh information to 200+ charitable sites, including AmazonSmile, Facebook, and Network for Good

· Use your profile as a handout in funder meetings

· Celebrate your diversity and share your staff and board’s demographics

Organizations earn the Seal of Transparency by updating their information. A report by the Better Business Bureau’s shows that a nonprofit’s accomplishments are the number one factor in establishing donor trust. There are four GuideStar Seals available:

  • Bronze

  • Silver

  • Gold

  • Platinum

To earn the Bronze Seal, add your mission statement, contact details, and information on donations, leadership, and grant maker status.

The Silver Seal includes program(s) information and brand details such as website, social media, and logo, as well as Bronze level information.

The Gold Seal level includes audited financials or other basic financial information, plus the names of your board members and leadership demographics, and Silver level information. This level highlights your commitment to inclusivity.

The Platinum Seal level shares your strategic plan, highlights your goals, and illustrates at least one metric which demonstrates your progress and results.

GuideStar profiles with Gold or Platinum Seals get twice the views as other profiles. I encourage all of you to take advantage of this free opportunity to showcase your organization’s good work to millions of viewers.


Michelle Crim, CFRE

Dynamic Development Strategies can help. We offer coaching, grant writing, and fundraising services for our nonprofit clients. We specialize in small to mid-size organizations because we understand your challenges. Please contact us for more information.

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