Philanthropy, Voluntarism, and Grantmaking

GuideStar USA

Better data. Better decisions. Better world.

aka GuideStar

Williamsburg, VA

Mission

GuideStar USA's mission is to revolutionize philanthropy and nonprofit practice by providing information that advances transparency, enables users to make better decisions, and encourages charitable giving.

Ruling Year

1996

President & CEO

Mr. Jacob C Harold

Main Address

4801 Courthouse St Ste. 220

Williamsburg, VA 23188 USA

Keywords

charitable giving, data driven decisions, nonprofits, transparency, nonprofit sector, organizational effectiveness, organizational efficiency, nonprofit information hub, Forms 990, research

EIN

54-1774039

 Number

7349589081

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Philanthropy / Charity / Voluntarism Promotion (General) (T50)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2017, 2017 and 2016.
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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

Across the globe, nonprofits play an important role within the evolving social contract: they provide services, drive innovation, and shape political discourse. Unfortunately, the culture and systems of the nonprofit sector do not always drive excellence, learning, or collaboration. The whole is less than the sum of its parts. For example:

- proven impact rarely draws additional capital;
- failure seldom drives learning;
- shared goals rarely inspire collaboration;
- the voices of those we try to serve are lost.

These obstacles limit the overall impact of the field. Until we fix these problems the nonprofit sector will continue to underperform—with profound consequences across society.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Web Program

Platform Program

Data & Knowledge Services

Nonprofit Profile Program

Where we workNew!

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Number of organizations you can find on GuideStar

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

General/Unspecified

Related program

Nonprofit Profile Program

Context notes

We feature various types of nonprofit organizations on GuideStar. The most common type is the 501(c)(3) --1.89 million of these can be found on GuideStar.

Number of organizations who share enough information to earn a Seal of Transparency on GuideStar

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

General/Unspecified

Related program

Nonprofit Profile Program

Context notes

The Seals of Transparency are tied to sharing up-to-date and relevant information with stakeholders. The 2015 drop was the result of removing seal holders with out-of-date information.

Number of organizations sharing their organization’s demographics information through their GuideStar Nonprofit Profile

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

General/Unspecified

Related program

Web Program

Context notes

We encourage nonprofits to share the demographic characteristics of their staff, board, and volunteers. We developed the survey along with the D5 coalition and launched in Oct 2014.

Number of unique website visitors

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

General/Unspecified

Related program

Web Program

Context notes

We fine-tuned our metrics procedure in June 2016 and want to reflect the most accurate data to date.

Number of websites and organizations (outside of our organization) that share our resources and information

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

General/Unspecified

Related program

Platform Program

Context notes

The number of websites and applications powered by information on GuideStar Nonprofit Profiles

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

GuideStar believes that better data will enable people to make better decisions, leading to a better world.

Our goal is for people to make better decisions about social change based on accurate, timely information about nonprofits. Specifically, we aim to improve the quality and quantity of giving in the nonprofit sector, and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of nonprofits. We believe that, through the strategies shown below, we will be able to encourage and enable more people to make data-driven decisions, simplify fundraising, and enable faster learning for nonprofits.

1. Donor decisions influenced by data: By making more data available, providing new tools to make nonprofit data more accessible, guiding more people on how to interpret the data, and reaching more people, we hope to see an increase in data-driven decision making by both individual donors and funders.

2. Simplified fundraising systems: Our products save time and resources for foundations and nonprofits, making their jobs easier and saving them time. GuideStar for Grant Applications (G4G) simplifies the application process between foundations and nonprofits. More than six grants management vendors and more than 40 foundations have adopted this tool. GuideStar's products also make it easier for donors to find nonprofits and donate money.

3. Faster learning among nonprofits: Nonprofits use GuideStar to see a clear picture of their year-over-year information, including financial and programmatic data. They benchmark themselves against individual organizations and in the aggregate. Nonprofits also use GuideStar to establish appropriate compensation for employees. Tens of thousands of nonprofits have leveraged GuideStar solutions for learning in the past year.

GuideStar has four main activities for realizing this vision over the next few years.

(1) Increasing the breadth, depth, and quality of data: GuideStar began 23 years ago by creating a system that shared nonprofit information more efficiently with the general public. This open platform led to the public display of the IRS Form 990, a financial document nonprofits must file annually with the IRS. Over the years, we encouraged tax-exempt organizations to move beyond this one financial document. As a result, we have collected extensive data about the programs in the sector, the beneficiaries of those programs, and the effectiveness of the organizations achieving social change. We will expand our data collection across multiple dimensions to gather (a) more (a higher number of organizations represented with more information about each), (b) better (a higher quality of information), and (c) faster (delivered and available more quickly) information.

(2) Increasing our reach through partnerships with giving platforms, foundations, and more: In addition to our current distribution channels, we will create new platforms and partnerships to distribute data more broadly—to the public, partners, and social investors around the world—so that GuideStar data can form the core of the next generation of social sector tools, services, products, and analysis.

(3) Providing tools to aid foundations, nonprofits, giving platforms, and more: Through our research and innovation efforts, we will create new forms of value and analysis, such as new products, tools, and initiatives that build on the information we've collected, while leveraging our distribution channels to reach a wide audience.

(4) Thought leadership to enable higher understanding of the nonprofit sector through data: GuideStar offers additional education in efficiency and effectiveness through our webinars, blog, and resources we publish. These resources help inform tens of thousands of people around the sector.

After more than two decades of work supporting nonprofits, GuideStar has both the reach and reputation to help achieve our mission. Nonprofits have come to believe in the power of keeping their information updated on GuideStar. Foundations rely on us to streamline their grants processes. Donors and those working in support of the nonprofits trust the information they see on GuideStar. Partners have confidence we can provide them with the latest and best nonprofit information to power their platforms.

These factors combined create an information cycle that is unique in the sector and positions GuideStar as the hub of nonprofit sector.

GuideStar is also fortunate to have an incredible staff of 80+ professionals skilled in building tools and delivering services to nonprofits, professionals, and individuals; stable financials and a plan for continued sustainability; an engaged board of directors from a wide variety of disciplines; and a large group of committed funders.

In order to monitor success, we track outputs from four main activities and outcomes achieved as a result of these activities.

Outputs:
1. Increasing the breadth, depth, and quality of data: Measured by the number of organizations that share information with us and have earned a Seal of Transparency. We have seen a 21% year-over-year increase and expect this number to reach 55,000 by the end of 2018.

2. Providing tools to aid foundations, nonprofits, giving platforms, and more: Measured by the number of searches performed on www.guidestar.org. We have seen a 35% increase from 2016 to 2017 and expect to see 8.5 million searches on a quarterly basis by the end of 2018.

3. Increasing our reach through partnerships with giving platforms, foundations, and more: Measured through number of registered users on www.guidestar.org and number of websites and organizations that share our resources and information (our data distribution network). Our registered users and data distribution partners have both been growing steadily at 8% and 10%, respectively, year over year. We expect to reach 3.8 million registered users and 250 data distribution partners by the end of 2018.

4. Thought leadership to enable higher understanding of the nonprofit sector through data: Measured by number of webinar attendees, blog views, and white paper downloads. We have seen a 153% growth overall year over year. We expect this number to grow more steadily in the next year, reaching 200,000 content views on a quarterly basis by the end of 2018.

Today, the GuideStar database comprises information on 2.6 million nonprofits, of which 1.9 million are 501(c)(3)s. The organizations in our database include all tax-exempt organizations registered with the IRS, thousands of tax-exempt religious organizations, and nearly 1 million formerly tax-exempt organizations.

GuideStar Nonprofit Profiles are populated with information directly from nonprofits, the IRS, and other partners in the nonprofit sector. We post PDFs of the actual IRS Forms 990, 990-EZ, and 990-PF as well as digitizing the information from them. Currently, we have 8.6 million Form 990 images on the site. We have data directly from more than 140,000 nonprofits that have updated their GuideStar Nonprofit Profiles since 2008. More than 44,000 nonprofits have updated their profiles with information from the most recent two years.

In addition, we have grown the network of partner sites and applications that are powered by GuideStar data to more than 215.

We are developing new tools to support our mission in the near future, including: a system to aggregate quantitative programmatic data across nonprofit categories; issue pages to highlight information about social indicators, interventions, and resources in various cause areas; and overall nonprofit sector indices. We aim to acquire information about educational and faith-based organizations to enhance our database and will explore expanding it to include international organizations. We also are implementing better delivery of our content via mobile devices, thus delivering on our commitment to have nonprofit information readily available whenever and wherever it is needed. In sum, GuideStar is committed to better data for better decisions for a better world.

External Reviews

Photos

Financials

GuideStar USA

Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

Need more info on this nonprofit?

Need more info on this nonprofit?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2017 and 2016
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to view a Sample Report.

Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2017 and 2016
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to see what's included.

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

No

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Yes

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Yes

Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Gender

Race & Ethnicity

Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members and Volunteers.

Disability

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members and Volunteers.

Diversity Strategies

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We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
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We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
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We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
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We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
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We have a diversity committee in place
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We have a diversity manager in place
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We have a diversity plan
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We use other methods to support diversity