GuideStar

Rating: 4 stars   31 reviews

Issues: Philanthropy

Location: 4801 Courthouse Street Ste 220 Williamsburg VA 23188 USA

Mission: GuideStar seeks "to revolutionize philanthropy and nonprofit practice by providing information that advances transparency, enables users to make better decisions, and encourages charitable giving." Progress in American philanthropy and nonprofit practice is constrained by the absence of extensive information about the practices of nonprofit organizations. Before GuideStar, donors lacked the information to initiate their philanthropy and follow the progress of organizations to which they give; nonprofits and their boards had no means to study and/or compare their own operating practices and results with those of similar organizations; and nonprofits, government agencies, and grants administrators suffered from the requirements of burdensome and duplicative reporting systems. By securing the collaboration of all of these audiences, GuideStar is now building the common, open information infrastructure required to eliminate these inefficiencies and ensure a more effective allocation of society's resources.
Target demographics: Anyone that wants information about charities.
Geographic areas served: All

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Community Reviews

Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

I use GuideStar to research nonprofit organizations' IRS forms, especially foundations. I appreciate the ease of use of the system and the ever growing availability of data. I always refer clients and friends to GuideStar as a tool for industry information and decision making for donating, volunteering or collaborating.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

GuideStar has been a great help to us as a small, young nonprofit. Within the first six months of getting our 501(c)3 in 2011 we created our profile and started loading information into it. We refer potential donors and grantors to it frequently. We encourage our clients, volunteers and board members to write reviews of us. Because we load them ourselves, we know our financials are out there for any interested party to see. Other databases of charities require significant assets, so we are not included in them. Our goal is to serve clients, and we spend our donations on their welfare. We feel very strongly that we have a responsibility to our donors to be transparent, and GuideStar helps us do that. We're extremely proud of our Gold Star rating!

We also use GuideStar when we are approached by a foundation or another nonprofit and asked to submit a grant request or collaborate. We are extremely cautious about our associations, and GuideStar gives us a way to find out information about other organizations before we make any commitments.

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Review from Guidestar
Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

I learned about Guidestar when it just launched (was that 20 years ago?, not sure). Back then the notion of being able to access 990's online was providing a great resource to donors & industry professionals alike. Since then, Guidestar continues to think "outside the box" and strives to provide relevant data to and about the nonprofit community.
Professionally, as a grant-making foundation, we rely on Guidestar for tax exemption checks, informational articles, and as a source to access 990 data. Their website is a very valuable resource to us. We'd participate more if we could make it cost effective. The current product pricing structure does not suit our organization. I would like to see additional member/subscription levels for intermediary use. Perhaps that will come.

In the mean-time: keep up the good work!

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I became an advisor to GuideStar because I found the site to be very helpful in both searching for funders as well as learning more about other non-profits. The website is robust and has essential information that provides pathways to donors and also understanding of how other nonprofits get funded. I have introduced this website to donors so they can educate themselves as to the nonprofit they support. Information and easy access makes for a 5 star rating.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

Guidestar is the best tool out there with current information on the status of a non profit and a financial picture of an organization. The information is well organized and as up-to-date as it can be. As a staff member of a non profit responsible for our input to Guidestar the tool is has improved significantly since I started using in almost 10 years ago. Thanks Guidestar and your team for keeping transparency in the forefront and helping make information available to donors and funders!

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

It is always challenging to select charities worthy of your hard-earned money. Especially considering that many charities advertise heavily and appear to spend more money fundraising than they do on pursuing their stated mission.

I use GuideStar as a one-stop source to help weed out those charities whose expense to "doing good" ratio is out-of-whack with what I feel comfortable with. For larger donations, having easy access to a charity's IRS 990 forms gives me a way to see exactly where the money is going. It allows me to avoid giving to charities that simply collect money and provide a portion of the funds to other charities -- thus doubling up on administrative and fundraising expenses rather than being of benefit to the program's intended beneficiaries.

All-in-all, GuideStar is well worth having at hand when you are considering donating to ANY cause.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

For me, GuideStar is a place that I can show the world what my charity is. More importantly, GuideStar is a go-to source for information on reputable causes and foundations. This non-profit collects and provides information which will greatly assist the non-profit sector and it's donors assuring all of reputable, transparent compliance with charitable rules. If you have not visited GuideStar.org, take a moment, check out your favorite charity, state, or city. Help the world be a better place for everyone.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

As a nonprofit consultant, whenever I am contacted by a nonprofit officer or board member, the first thing I do is review their GuideStar profile. The information available allows me to make an initial assessment of the organization and its capabilities by providing me with immediate access to their NTEE category, EIN number, address of record, their Form 990s for the last several years, and, in the best cases, information concerning key staff/directors, programs, impacts and external references. This information enables me to immediately determine the level of service the nonprofit might require which helps me better serve and meet their needs. Thank you, GuideStar for being a one-stop shop for this information.

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Review from Guidestar