What is GuideStar?
GuideStar’s mission is “to revolutionize philanthropy by providing information that advances transparency, enables users to make better decisions, and encourages charitable giving.” “We provide as much information as we can about each nonprofit’s mission, legitimacy, impact, reputation, finances, programs, transparency, governance, and so much more.”
GuideStar is directed at grant makers, donors, and potential supporters so they can use the information to decide on whether or not to donate to a nonprofit.
Why should I update my nonprofit’s GuideStar profile?
“[Online] fundraising is built upon GuideStar. Change.org, Network for Good, and Facebook Causes (just to name a few) are pulling your organization’s information from GuideStar. … donations made to your organization are mailed to the address listed in GuideStar! Nonprofits need to understand the importance of keeping their GuideStar entry current.” —Heather Mansfield, Change.org
- If you are a 501c3, you already have a profile, so why not keep it up to date?
- The information on GuideStar powers more than 60 other websites like Network for Good, blackbaud, Change.org, and Razoo. It also powers the new give. app.
- It adds to your nonprofit’s transparency.
- Grantmakers and potential supporters check it to decide to donate to your nonprofit.
- You only have to update it once a year.
How do I update our profile?
GuideStar has all the information you need to update your nonprofit’s profile.
Updating your nonprofit’s GuideStar Profile could literally be worth millions of dollars in donations. Potential donors and grantmakers could use the information to decide if your nonprofit receives any funding.
Is your nonprofit’s GuideStar profile up to date?
Your nonprofit has decided which social media sites to be on. And one of them is Facebook. So how do you go about setting it up?
First, let’s discuss the difference between a Facebook Profile and a Facebook Page?
From the Facebook website: “Personal profiles are for non-commercial use and represent individual people. You can follow profiles to see public updates from people you’re interested in but aren’t friends with. Pages look similar to personal profiles, but they offer unique tools for businesses, brands and organizations. Pages are managed by people who have personal profiles. You can like a Page to see updates in News Feed. Keep in mind that each person who signs up for Facebook has one account with login information. Each account can have one personal profile and manage multiple Pages.”
Second, gather this information before starting:
- Nonprofit’s Logo
- Mission Statement
- Contact information – email address, phone number, physical address, website
Now, you are ready to set up your nonprofit’s Facebook Page.
- Log into your Facebook Profile
- On the left side of the home page, click Create Page.
- Select which category best describes your organization (For nonprofits, Company, Organization, or Institution is best)
- Choose a category – There is a nonprofit organization category
- Type in your nonprofit’s name
- Click Get Started
- Follow all the prompts
- Invite friends to like your nonprofit’s page
You now have a Facebook Page!
If you used this tutorial to set up your nonprofit Facebook page, would you leave a link to your page in the comments? I would love to see them!
YES, all nonprofits need a responsive website, and here is why.
Responsive Design refers to the ability of the website and its content elements to size themselves down to fit the size of the visitor’s browser window. Responsive Design remains in place for all Squarespace sites even with mobile styles disabled. This means that the full website and content areas should still be sized to fit smaller devices. – Squarespace
It may seem costly and time-consuming to “go mobile” but in the long run, it will cost nonprofits much, much, much more to not upgrade.
Why you might ask?
We live in the digital, information age. We have screens around us at all times.
- Smart watches
Each of these screens is a different size. A website created for a computer/laptop screen will probably be hard to read on a smartphone or watch. There is nothing more frustrating than to go to a website on a smartphone or tablet and not be able to read it.
“If your donors and supporters cannot easily read your website on a smartphone or tablet, then your content strategy – and thus your mobile and social fundraising strategy – is futile. Furthermore, search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and Bing have changed their algorithms to lower the scores of websites that are not mobile compatible.” - Mobile for Good
Let’s get practical.
How do you make your website responsive?
- Squarespace websites: your site is already responsive.
- WordPress: search for only responsive templates
- GoDaddy Website Builder: All designs are already responsive
- Website Designer: Ask them to redesign your website to be responsive
Donors and supporters have little patience with poorly executed online communications and fundraising campaigns. – Mobile for Good
Each grantmaker has its own instructions and requirements
. But most grant applications, whether hard copy or online, seek the same information.
- Executive Summary – It is a one page summary of the proposal.
- Needs Statement – This section outlines the organization’s reasons for seeking support.
- Project Objective & Overview – This section outlines the objectives that the project/program plans to accomplish.
- Method – This section outlines “how” the organization is going to accomplish the objectives that addresses the need.
- Qualifications – This section outlines the organization’s capability to successfully accomplish the proposed project by outlining its qualifications and past accomplishments.
- Project Evaluation – This section outlines how the organization will evaluate the program/project.
- Project Budget - This section outlines the financial aspects of the project/program
- Conclusion & Appendices – This section outlines how the organization plans to sustain the project/program once the funding is finished
This list might be a little overwhelming, but much of the information needed should already be available if the organization is grant-ready.
What section do you think is the most difficult to write?
Each professor has his/her own set of instructions and requirements. If the student does not follow those instructions and requirements, the paper is marked down. Same is true for grantmakers. They each have their own set of instructions and requirements for their grant application. Some have many requirements. Others have few. And if you do not follow their instructions and requirements, your grant application might get thrown out.
There are two areas of requirements to research after you have made your nonprofit grant-ready.
The first is the qualifying requirements:
- Geographic Scope – where in the world does this grantmaker want to fund projects?
- Subject Area - what areas does this grantmaker want to fund?
- Type of Funding - what type of projects does this grantmaker want to fund?
- Amount range – what are the typical amounts this grantmaker gives funded applications?
- Funding Cycle – what are the deadlines for this grantmaker?
To read more on researching potential funders: 4 Areas To Focus On When Researching Potential Funders
If your nonprofit aligns with the grant maker in these areas, then you can move on to researching the actual application requirements.
It is important to look at the applications requirements. Always read through all requirements before starting a grant application. Some of the requirements will require working with other people. By reading through beforehand, you can allow enough time to complete all sections.
- Is the application completed online or a hard copy?
- If a hard copy, how many copies of the application does the grantmaker request?
- Number of pages needed
- What attachments are required? – Letters of recommendation, Determination Letter (501(c)(3) letter), Operational Budget, List of Board Members and/or Staff, Project Budget, etc
- What sections are required in the proposal? Needs statement, project description, budget, capacity, sustainability, etc.
Be sure to follow ALL requirements in filling out grant applications. Just like a professor will mark down a paper for not following all requirements, a grantmaker will throw out applications that don’t follow all of their requirements. This means no funding. So don’t give the grant maker reason to throughout your application before even reading it.