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GuidestarNonprofits are generally happy to utilize any and all reputable channels to get their message out or to encourage donations and volunteers. One tool that can help on both fronts is GuideStar.org. If you haven't updated your information at this database, then it's time to do so.

Every 501(c)(3) organization in the United States is included in the Guidstar.org database, but the amount of material included varies greatly. They actually cull their information from a few different sources, with the IRS offering the majority. For example, your organization's name and address might come from the IRS's Business Master File, while your 990s offer a glimpse into your organization's finances.

But, did you know that you can add information yourself? By doing so, you can help control what your potential donors and volunteers read about you. You have the opportunity to tell those using the GuideStar database just what you want them to know about your mission, programs, leaders, goals, accomplishments, and needs.

In 2008, more than 8 million visitors used GuideStar.org to research nonprofit organizations, and it stands to reason that those with the best information are going to be the most attractive to donors. In fact, a large percentage of the site’s clientele are subscription-based members, which means they are committed to using the service when making their decisions.

GuideStar is also a nonprofit organization, and they provide this information - which is free for you to update, by the way - with the mission to revolutionize philanthropy and nonprofit practice by providing information that advances transparency, enables users to make better decisions, and encourages charitable giving. All-in-all, not a bad set of goals for the entire nonprofit community!

Last modified on Sunday, 19 May 2013
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