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GuideStar Presents Most Important, Comprehensive Nonprofit Information in a New, Easy-to-Understand Format

Information on Financials, Programs, Missions, Expert Reviews, and More Are Now Provided in the Format That Meets Users' Needs
Release date: January 26, 2012

Washington, D.C.—GuideStar, the leading source of nonprofit information, today announced a new and improved design of its nonprofit reports, with revitalized, comprehensive, and detailed information that focuses on impact and advances transparency to help people who research nonprofits make better, more educated, and more confident decisions. The new nonprofit reports feature a new "Quick View," an informative summary of the most important information about a nonprofit or charity. At a glance, a person can find the IRS registration status of his or her favorite organization, review the availability of IRS Forms 990 and revenue and expense data for that nonprofit, and discover expert and personal reviews of the organization. For an example of this new format, visit GuideStar's own nonprofit report: http://www2.guidestar.org/organizations/54-1774039/guidestar-usa.aspx.

GuideStar's landmark Money for Good II study, which was conducted in partnership with Hope Consulting, found that providing better information, transparent packaging, and information from a few trusted sources can produce more informed charitable giving. Specifically, Money for Good II showed that the people who research nonprofits—including donors, nonprofits themselves, and foundation grantmakers—care most about basic program information, legitimacy, impact, and mission objectives as well as finances and individual nonprofits' legal status. Based on these findings, GuideStar spent months testing various formats for displaying these key pieces of data, and the design that received the most positive feedback was used to construct the new nonprofit reports.

"We know from Money for Good II as well as our conversations with those in the philanthropic sector that people don't want us to make evaluations for them about which nonprofits are good and which are bad," said Bob Ottenhoff, president and CEO of GuideStar. "Our new nonprofit report format is designed to give you the most important pieces of information about an organization at a glance, so you can be confident that you are giving to or otherwise interacting with a nonprofit that deserves it most."

Anyone who visits www.guidestar.org can see the new nonprofit reports, which include revenue and expense information and other basic organization information. GuideStar's Quick View includes:

  • GuideStar Exchange Seal—A symbol signifying that a nonprofit has completed its GuideStar Exchange profile to the fullest, thus demonstrating its commitment to transparency;
  • IRS Registration Status—Legitimacy information about whether the organization is registered as a tax-exempt entity with the IRS;
  • Evidence of Impact—When available, expert reviews about impact from our TakeAction partners Philanthropedia, Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy, GiveWell, Innovations for Poverty Action, and Root Cause, which are a great way of assessing an organization's effectiveness in the sector;
  • Impact Statement—Details about the organization's top accomplishments from the past year and top goals for the current year as they relate to programs, management, or finances;
  • Financial Data—Annual revenue and expense information, with insight into an organization's financial standing, as reported to the IRS;
  • Forms 990—Forms 990 from the IRS for information about programs, revenues, and expenses. Approximately one-third of all public charities report information about their finances and operations to the federal government on IRS Form 990;
  • Mission Objectives—Information about the mission, cause, and purpose of the organization; and
  • Average User Rating—A 5-star rating system that indicates what people are saying about the nonprofit, featuring personal reviews from our partner Great Nonprofits.

"We have worked hard to make our nonprofit report pages as easy to use and comprehensive as possible," stated Bernard Palin, a GuideStar product manager, and the person responsible for the testing and implementation of the new design. "Based on Money for Good II findings and testing, our new nonprofit profiles are giving users what they want, how they want it, emphasizing the types of information they desire most."

"GuideStar has focused on making transparency and accountability necessities for the nonprofit sector for a long time," said José Fernández, director of the GuideStar Exchange, an initiative designed to connect nonprofits with current and potential supporters. "Determining whether a nonprofit is transparent about its inner workings has never been easier. With GuideStar's Quick View, a green check mark indicates the availability of critical pieces of information, and a yellow exclamation point lets readers know that the information has not been provided."

"GuideStar's mission is to revolutionize philanthropy by providing information that advances transparency, enables users to make better decisions, and encourages charitable giving," added Ottenhoff. "With the launch of our new nonprofit profiles, we are delivering on that charge. In this difficult economy, we know that dollars need to go as far as possible, so we hope that people use these crucial pieces of nonprofit data to make sure that they are giving to, volunteering with, and funding the highest-performing nonprofits."

Visit GuideStar's own nonprofit report to see the new format or start your own search by typing in keywords about a nonprofit in the "Start New Search" area at the top of the screen.

About GuideStar

GuideStar, www.guidestar.org, connects people and organizations with information on the programs and finances of more than 1.8 million IRS-recognized nonprofits. GuideStar serves a wide audience inside and outside the nonprofit sector, including individual donors, nonprofit leaders, grantmakers, government officials, academic researchers, and the media.

Media Contact

Lindsay J.K. Nichols
(202) 637-7614
lnichols@guidestar.org

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