Recently, I received a call from a client saying she was trying to receive approval from Facebook to run fundraisers on their site. They requested she have a complete profile on Guidestar. She asked, “What is Guidestar and why do they want me to have a profile?”

Guidestar is a nonprofit organization that receives information from the IRS. Guidestar has your nonprofit listed in their database, even if you didn’t do anything to be on their site. They gather data from the IRS and then organize, store and distribute this data for donors, foundations, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and anyone interested in nonprofits to access. Unfortunately, sometimes the information they gather from the 990s is not a fully complete, or even accurate, picture of you nonprofit. If you file the 990N, there really is no information on your nonprofit that depicts your organization in a way millions of people who see it would donate to you.

Furthermore, Guidestar is a necessary resource for giving portals including AmazonSmile, Facebook, JustGive, Network for Good, Salesforce and VolunteerMatch as well most donor advised funds, private foundations and community foundations. They often require your Guidestar profile is current and reflective of your organization. Additionally, you can get donations through your Guidestar profile!

So, Guidestar has set up a process to update your organization’s information. You can make changes to your profile at any time.

  1. First you need to claim your profile.
  2. Then get approved by Guidestar.
  3. After you are approved you can begin updating!

Updating includes providing information on the operations of your organization including your Board of Directors, full descriptions of your programs and even fundraising activities. As you progress through the process, you gain higher levels in the Guidestar process from Bronze to Silver to Gold to Platinum as you meet higher standards of reporting transparency. They require you do updates at least once a year to keep your or improve your status level.

Here’s some links where you can check more on updating your Guidestar:

One other quick note, Guidestar and the Foundation Center have combined to create Candid. This collaboration provides comprehensive data, research, technology and training for all involved in nonprofit organizations.