XYG – Examine Your GuideStar

A recent Network for Good study found that 25% of the donations Network for Good collected over the past nine years came through giving portals.

We’ve seen a large uptick in visits to our clients that start on charity rating sites like GuideStar or Charity Navigator in December.

So the question is, when was the last time you reviewed your information on these sites? On the surface this may appear to be a digital issue. But as frequent readers of this blog will know, a larger and larger percentage of donors are going online to check your ministry out before giving offline.

A 2008 study by the Nonprofit Times showed that people were almost as likely to research a ministry on an independent rating site as the ministry’s website. And I know 2008 seems ancient in Internet years, but it is the most recent I found.

Network for Good’s data also showed that the majority of that portal giving was driven by disasters. If your organization deals with disaster response, an out-of-date or incomplete profile could be costing you donors.

I think I’ve made a case to update this information, but with at least a dozen rating sites, where do you start? I would suggest GuideStar since it is the most prominent and your GuideStar information is pulled in by numerous other web properties to represent your organization.

Updating your GuideStar profile is straightforward and it is well documented on their website. One area where GuideStar can be more complicated is if your ministry is organized as a church or is part of a larger organization.

The short version is, if you are part of a larger organization, you’re out of luck. The larger organization can include your ministry as a program, but you can’t get your own profile. If you were organized as a church, as long as you have an employer identification number and a denomination you should be ok. You can read more here.

If you’re looking for a great example of a GuideStar page, check out CareNet’s page. They have just about every area filled out and do an excellent job of responding to comments.

Do you have another example of a great GuideStar page? Link it up in the comments, but only after you check your page and make sure it is up to date.