Toot Your Nonprofit’s Horn on GuideStar

Welcome to the "shelter in place" SLPL Grants & Foundation Center (GFC) location. If you were visiting us in beautiful Central Library for the first time, we would begin our orientation by saying that the physical library (the "books") are located "between that red & yellow sign with the cute little bear, and the matching sign and bear over there" while pointing to two spots on the bookshelves behind the staff desk in the Social Sciences room. During a recent dash into Central to grab some materials to work on from home, I took pictures of the signs & bears (named "Grant," here to the left, & "Candy," below) to provide similar guideposts for another blog post from the GFC - remote location.

Many of you remember a little over a year ago when our Funding Information Network (FIN) partner, Foundation Center, merged with GuideStar, another nonprofit charged with serving nonprofits, to form the new nonprofit Candid (& the GFC Librarian had to train herself to say "our partner Candid" rather than "our partner Foundation Center"). While we often share information regarding the legacy FIN resources (Foundation Directory Online, GrantSpace, training, eBooks, etc.) that the GFC has long provided access to, and have suggested to GFC visitors that they might benefit from spending a little time to improve their GuideStar profile, we have been meaning to blog about GuideStar for a while - so here we are.   

Guidestar's mission is "to revolutionize philanthropy by providing information that advances transparency, enables users to make better decisions, and encourages charitable giving." They invite nonprofit organizations to help them provide that information by claiming and updating their FREE GuideStar Nonprofit Profile. Earlier this month, Candid introduced a video training (also FREE) explaining how your organization can earn a 2020 GuideStar Seal of Transparency. GuideStar invites nonprofits to provide key information that will allow funders to "make educated decisions about the work you do to make the world a better place." As this brief video from their website points out, you wouldn't get to know a person from their tax forms, but that is how most nonprofits are judged. You can help GuideStar present "better data" by telling "the whole story" behind your nonprofit's 990 tax forms. 

According to the website, "Research links earning a GuideStar Seal of Transparency to a 53% increase in contributions for your nonprofit." (emphasis added, because that seemed worthy of emphasizing) Many foundations turn to GuideStar to learn more about grant applicants and other nonprofits they are considering funding, and as GuideStar points out, you have the power to choose what they will see and to help them better understand the important work you are doing. A nonprofit can earn its bronze, silver, gold, or platinum seal of transparency, depending on the level of information provided. If you or a staff member have some time on your respective hands during these interesting, challenging times, it might be the perfect opportunity to use that time to burnish your nonprofit's GuideStar profile.

Even though the Library is currently closed to help us all stay safe during the Coronavirus pandemic, we do continue to "librarian" each day and are standing by to answer your questions and refer you to nonprofit resources to the best of our remote abilities. As noted in an earlier "remote location" blog post, Candid has provided us with access to Foundation Directory Online (FDO) Professional (previously available only within the walls of Central Library in the SLPL system), and have been doing some grant sleuthing and sending search results to folks upon request - if you'd like us to do the same for you, just fill out & submit this search request form. Or if you would like to try your hand at some at-home grant searching, Candid has provided us with a link to share for FDO Essential - somewhat scaled back, but still pretty robust.

Best of luck to all, and please do reach out to the GFC librarian, Lisa Thorp, at lthorp@slpl.org, if we can help you in any way. (and, of course, wash your hands, wear a mask in public, take care of yourself, and be well). Peace.

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