Wise Giving Wednesday: GuideStar Nonprofit Profiles

By H. Art Taylor
President & CEO BBB Wise Giving Alliance
Jul 17, 2020

Since 1994, GuideStar has been most known for providing access to the annual federal financial forms filed by charities and other tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, the IRS Form 990.  A few weeks ago, GuideStar announced a new format for their organization profiles.  We thought we would alert readers to some features that can be of particular interest to charity donors. 

Free Access to IRS Form 990s: Those who are familiar with GuideStar can be assured that the IRS Form 990 continues to be accessible at no charge. In fact, three years worth of 990’s can be accessed – just look at the right side of an organization’s profile and click on the green button marked “Forms 990.”  (For first-time visitors to the site, please note that GuideStar requires registration to access a certain portion of information on its site but that registration is free.)   

Charting Impact : Back in 2010, BBB WGA engaged in a collaboration with both Independent Sector and GuideStar to produce Charting Impact, a reporting framework that consists of five (5) questions that charities can answer to help produce a report on their goals, strategies, capabilities, progress and accomplishments. Completing this reporting framework is also a means to help charities meet BBB Charity Standard 7.  We are pleased to note that GuideStar’s new organizational profiles place a significant spotlight on Charting Impact by placing this information at the beginning of the profile. This also helps donors avoid potential donor over-emphasis on charity financial information. Charities seeking to complete Charting Impact can access the following GuideStar link

In addition to the above, GuideStar profiles provide information on operations, interactive graphs that show finances over a period of time, and board leadership and diversity information. 

BBB Wise Giving Alliance believes that the more information that is available to donors, the better informed they are in making their contribution decisions. 

On a separate note, as part of our Building Trust Video Series we are pleased to provide a video that features Shawn Sweeney, Sr., Director of Community Engagement of the Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife, Research, Education and Conservation (a BBB Accredited Charity).  The Jane Goodall Institute works to promote understanding and protection of great apes and their habitat on the legacy of Dr. Jane Goodall, its founder, and to inspire individual action by young people to help animals and to protect the environment. 

We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:  

Finally, remember to let us know by going to https://www.give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/ if you are  interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. 

H. Art Taylor, President & CEO
BBB Wise Giving Alliance

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