After 20 years in business, GuideStar wants a facelift. The nonprofit information database (which you probably know as the place to find an organization’s Form 990) wants to execute a new strategic plan that it calls Guidestar 2020. GuideStar calls it the organization’s second revolution: “nonprofit transparency that drives nonprofit effectiveness.”
The new plan includes the development of new data innovation, collection, and distribution tools. The tools are aimed at making the website more effective for both nonprofits and for users of the site. One tool would enable nonprofits to create one profile to use across multiple online-giving platforms. Another would enable users of GuideStar to search nonprofits by their causes.
GuideStar also hopes to create a tool that will allow nonprofits to report program outcomes so that users could get a better picture of each nonprofit’s effectiveness.
GuideStar currently has almost 3 million registered users and information on 1.5 million 501(c)(3) organizations. 98% of its website visitors access basic information on nonprofits for free.
GuideStar chief executive Jacob Harold says the organization wants to raise $10 million to implement its strategic plan. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged $3 million over three years to get the revolution started. The foundation’s senior program officer, Victoria Vrana, describes GuideStar as one of the few central sources of information on nonprofits and acknowledges that updating the information on the site will be an enormous task.
How often do you use GuideStar?