Category Archives: fundraising

Don’t Forget Guidestar

I recently needed some information about my own organization from Guidestar, and was surprised to see how outdated our information was. Of course, we had all the required 990 forms and data, but our description, mission, accomplishments, and other areas had not been updated in several years. The person listed as our contact is no longer with the organization.

In many large organizations, it may not be clear who’s responsible for providing this information — but if you work at a nonprofit, you should make sure your marketing/fundraising/communications people take a look at how you’re presenting your organization to the public. No offense to the finance folks, but if the information is only coming from them with no other input, it may not be ready for public viewing. Even if the information is accurate, it’s unlikely to be inspiring to someone who may be considering making a donation.

Do this:
1. Search for your organization in Guidestar. Take a look at other organizations that have similar names — because potential donors will see them too.
2. Review your information, and not just for accuracy. Does your description present your organization as efficient, committed, and successful?
3. Ask yourself if an average person could understand the role of philanthropy in your organization. How are donations used, and why are they needed? What impact have past donations made, and what will additional funding help you accomplish?
4. Take a look at other organizations in your area (hunger, the environment, etc.) and see how you compare in Guidestar. Also take a look at nonprofits in your regional area. If a donor were shopping around for the most effective and worthy nonprofit, how would you stack up?
5. After you improve your profile, consider linking to Guidestar from your website. You can also make it easy by offering your 990 forms right on your website, but by referring donors to your page on the site, you’re adding another level of transparency and openness.

Also take a look at these tips from Guidestar:


Is Social Media Transforming Philanthropy?

Prospect research may be the key to leveraging social media to support not just online donations, but also major giving, according to the results of a recent study by Wealth Engine. Sally Boucher of Wealth Engine reported on the findings from 1,300 fundraisers and prospect researchers about how their nonprofits are using social media to profile, prospect, and engage with donors. Key takeaways:

1. Charitable organizations are using social media in creative and innovative ways.

2. Details from social media sites help flesh out prospect profiles and alert analysts to events that may warrant additional research.

3. Tapping into social networks helps nonprofits build prospect lists.

4. Social media provides organizations with new ways to engage followers and cultivate relationships.

Download the PDF from Advancing Philanthropy, the magazine of the Association of Fundraising Professionals here — “Is Social Media Transforming Philanthropy?”

Getting Your Donors to Say “I Do”


A few years ago, I presented at the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy’s international conference on the similarities between dating and online fundraising. The title of the talk was “Getting Your Donors to Say ‘I Do’: Using Online Tools to Build Lasting Relationships.” I think the metaphor holds up, especially because of the time and effort involved in cultivating relationships with donors and supporters. Here are the highlights of my presentation — and I’ve included the links below.

Playing the Field

• Cast a wide net – you never know where your donor/partner may be.
• Use all of your networks and connections – spread the word that you’re “available.”
• Go where your prospects are, and that may not be where you think.

• Make a good first impression.
• Remember it’s not all about you.
• Listen.
• Engage with them in new and different ways.
• Meet them in their own space – make it easy and convenient.

Taking the Plunge
• Getting engaged or married is just the beginning!
• Don’t take them for granted.
• Relationships evolve.  Adapt accordingly.

Read the full post on Katya’s Nonprofit Marketing Blog or view the presentation on slideshare.