FAQs: For Nonprofit Organizations


  1. Where did the information on my organization's GuideStar Nonprofit Profile come from?

    GuideStar obtains information from the IRS Business Master File of exempt organizations; IRS Forms 990, 990-EZ, and 990-PF; and from individual organizations themselves. If your organization's listing has only basic information, it is most likely from the Business Master File. More extensive information generally comes from your IRS Form 990. We invite you to update your Nonprofit's Profile to ensure that GuideStar's 7 million users get the most complete and timely information about your organization. Updating is free.

  2. How do I update my organization's Nonprofit Profile?

    You'll need to register your organization first. You can find step-by-step instructions for registering your organization and updating your profile on our Update Your GuideStar Nonprofit Profile page. Click the How To Update link at the top of that page to go to the instructions.

  3. When I tried to register, an error message said that my organization's EIN isn't in your database. How can I register my organization?

    You can register your nonprofit if the IRS has determined that it is a 501(c) organization. First, confirm that you typed the correct EIN, with the hyphen appropriately included. If the EIN is correct, please forward a copy of your organization's letter of determination, which the IRS sent to you after your organization filed a Form 1023/1024. E-mail the document to NPOservices@guidestar.org; fax it to 757-229-8912; or snail mail it to GuideStar, 4801 Courthouse Street, Suite 220, Williamsburg, VA 23188. We'll add your organization to our database.

    If your organization is tax exempt but does not have an IRS letter of determination, see our Policies for Adding Nonprofits Not Listed on the IRS Business Master File page to learn how you can be added to the database.

  4. My organization is part of another organization. Can we have our own GuideStar Nonprofit Profile?

    If your organization is registered as a separate entity with the IRS and has a different EIN (employer identification number) from that of your parent organization, you may update your organization's Nonprofit Profile. Otherwise, ask a representative of your parent organization to update its profile and include a description of your organization.

  5. Can my religious organization have a GuideStar Nonprofit Profile?

    Sure! See our Policies for Adding Nonprofits Not Listed on the IRS Business Master File page to learn how you can be added to the database.

  6. My organization's name has changed. How do I change it on GuideStar?

    1. Once you have claimed your nonprofit's profile, sign in at www.GuideStar.org.
    2. Click the Update Nonprofit Profile link at the top of the home page.
    3. When you are signed in, you should see your organization listed on the page. Click on your organization's name. You will be taken to a form to update your organization's GuideStar Nonprofit Profile.
    4. Fill in the required fields to earn one of the GuideStar Logos and please be sure to click the Save or the Publish Changes Now button at the bottom of each page after you have added or changed information.
    5. Once you have changed the organization’s name and completed all required fields on the form, click the Publish Changes Now button; then click the Finish and Publish button.

  7. What can GuideStar redact from a Form 990?

    The following information may be masked on a 990 image at the filing organization's request:

    • Social Security numbers
    • Preparers’ signature (replaced with typewritten name)
    • Street addresses of private residences
    • Street addresses of certain organizations, such as domestic violence shelters
    • Names of individuals receiving hardship scholarships, medical care, or other services (whether they be minors or adults)

    Neither GuideStar nor the IRS, however, will mask other information on the 990s. To request a redaction, send an e-mail to nposervices@guidestar.org. Include the following information in your request:

    • Your organization’s Employer Identification Number
    • Your organization’s name
    • The year(s) of the 990(s) you want redacted
    • The page number(s) in each 990 that should be redacted, and the information on each page that should be redacted

    Note: Without all of the information noted above, we cannot process your redaction request.

  8. Do nonprofit organizations pay to be included on GuideStar?

    Organizations pay nothing to have their information on GuideStar. In addition, updating your GuideStar Nonprofit Profile is free.

  9. How does my organization link to GuideStar?

    If your organization has updated your GuideStar Nonprofit Profile, you can link to it using the widget for your level of participation.

    You may also link to our home page. You must request permission in advance to link to any other pages on our site. To request permission to link to articles posted on GuideStar, contact Suzanne Coffman, our editorial director, at scoffman@guidestar.org. For permission to link to any other page, contact us online.