Help Donors Find You: Update Your GuideStar Profile
By: Gabe Cohen, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, GuideStar
Nonprofit fundraisers, it’s time to celebrate. There’s a new way for corporate donors and employees to find your nonprofit and support your work.
The details: Did you hear? Salesforce.org Philanthropy Cloud is now available to companies throughout the United States and Canada. Philanthropy Cloud makes it easier for corporate donors and their employees to find your nonprofit and engage with you for a lifetime. GuideStar is proud to work in partnership with Salesforce.org to provide the information on U.S. charitable organizations to this innovative and exciting platform for workplace philanthropy.
As a nonprofit, why should you care? Four things:
1. Salesforce.org and United Way are partnering to bring Philanthropy Cloud to the business world, opening up new opportunities for giving by employee donors directly to your organization and the causes you support.
2. You will soon have the ability to communicate your community impact and engage with corporate leaders and employees on fundraising campaigns, volunteering, and solicit corporate grants, and more.
3. If you’re with a U.S. 501(c)(3) listed on GuideStar, your nonprofit is already in Philanthropy Cloud.
4. If you haven’t updated your GuideStar Nonprofit Profile, your organization stands a good chance of being overlooked when employees search for nonprofits to engage with. Updating your profile can help your nonprofit earn a GuideStar Seal of Transparency.
What do I mean by updating your Nonprofit Profile? Every organization in our database has a profile drawn from IRS information. We invite your nonprofit to supplement — at no cost to your organization — your IRS data with compelling content such as up-to-date contact information; descriptions of your mission and programs; leadership information; goals and accomplishments; measurements of your progress toward your mission; governance practices; and diversity data. It’s easy to update your profile, right online through the GuideStar website.
Your nonprofit can provide as much or as little information as you wish. Your organization can earn a Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum Seal of Transparency by providing different levels of information. And when you earn a Seal of Transparency, that recognition shows up in Philanthropy Cloud.
Why Updating Your Profile Matters
IRS data can be pretty limited, especially if a nonprofit is a smaller organization that files Form 990-N (the ePostcard). And IRS information doesn’t tell an organization’s full story, even if that nonprofit files a full 990 and does an excellent job of describing its mission and programs on the form. Plus, the 990 isn’t very user-friendly. Lastly, a best practice in filling out your IRS 990 is to use regular capitalization and punctuation. If you fill out your 990 in ALL CAPS, it will look like you’re shouting online when your description of your mission and activities get imported into platforms like GuideStar or Philanthropy Cloud.
But don’t take my word for it. Compare the mission statement for an organization that files a 990-N and has not updated its profile…
In Philanthropy Cloud: the nonprofit info area will be blank:
Compare this to the mission statement for the National Audubon Society, which has earned a Platinum Seal of Transparency, and which has their mission next to the donation area in Philanthropy Cloud:
Which one do you think donors will find more compelling?
Many of us at GuideStar have long suspected that earning a Seal of Transparency makes a nonprofit more attractive to donors. Statistics from 2017 support our hypothesis:
- Some 77 percent of nonprofits that received a donation through the GuideStar website were Seal holders.
- Only 22 percent had claimed their profiles without earning a Seal of Transparency.
- The combined average donation for Seal of Transparency holders was 7 percent higher than that for non-Seal holders.
- The average donation for Gold and Platinum Seal holders was 11 percent higher than the combined average donation for non-Seal holders and organizations with Bronze and Silver Seals.
Nonprofits are also telling us that having a Seal of Transparency makes a difference:
My experience being a board member at Village Enterprise, where we have a Platinum Seal on GuideStar, is that it’s made fundraising easier. The Platinum Seal helps us stand out since there are so many nonprofits for donors to choose from.
—Jamie Austin, Board Member, Village Enterprise Fund
Expand Your Reach with our Seal of Transparency
With Philanthropy Cloud now opening new fundraising channels with corporations, we expect the Seal of Transparency to raise your profile visibility, increase your touchpoints, and accelerate your fundraising efforts.
But Wait, There’s More!
More than 200 partners incorporate GuideStar data into their websites and applications. When you update your GuideStar Nonprofit Profile, the information you provide appears not only in Philanthropy Cloud social networks but also major U.S.-based donor-advised funds, private foundations such as the California Endowment, and more than 16 leading community foundations.
Visit the GuideStar website to get started now.
Headed to Dreamforce?
Interested in learning more about what companies are doing to engage their employees, nonprofits and communities?
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Curious about the difference between Salesforce.org Philanthropy Cloud and Salesforce.org Nonprofit Cloud?
Click here to see our FAQ.
About the Author
Gabe Cohen is GuideStar’s senior director of marketing and communications. GuideStar helps people make better decisions about nonprofits and the work they do. Each year, more than 9 million donors, nonprofit leaders, grantmakers, government officials, academic researchers, and journalists use GuideStar data to make intelligent decisions about the social sector. GuideStar maintains profiles on 2.7 million currently and formerly IRS-recognized nonprofits. The profiles are populated with information from the IRS, directly from nonprofits, and via other partners in the nonprofit sector. In addition, users see GuideStar data on more than 200 philanthropic websites and applications. GuideStar is itself a 501(c)(3) public charity.
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