Guidestar Pro is a very useful database for students hoping to work in the voluntary sector, taking a course incorporating a nonprofit/public policy consulting project, or studying nonprofit organizations. It offers a search engine for US third sector organizations built on the Internal Revenue Service’s financial form 990, the Exempt Organization Master File with cumulative information and Publication 78 of organizations eligible for tax exempt donations. These official sources are enhanced with verified self-reported data and Guidestar’s “Seal of Transparency.”
You can use Guidstar to find nonprofits leaders by name, role, compensation level, location, and organization cause. People searches can be used to effectively boast your networking activities.
The organizations search is most useful for learning about potential employers, understanding the nonprofit environment of a given locale, or researching nonprofits. Searches by the National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities (NTEE) or cause category, by location (state, MSA, city, county, zip code), by IRS subsection type, number of employees, and financial benchmarks, such as revenue, expenses, and assets are all supported. The keyword search can be used to find organizations with very specific interests that may not neatly fit into a cause category.
The level of detail and currency of information provided for each nonprofit varies, but they generally cover mission, personnel, programs, outcomes, financials, compensation, and operations. When available trends are presented. Links to annual reports and the 990 are provided. The data is easily downloadable to Excel.
In addition to this powerful organization database, Guidestar Pro’s Blog is a collection of best practice articles on everything related to running and growing a successful nonprofit. Want tips on volunteer recognition? Wondering what key performance indicators a nonprofits should be measuring? Looking for advice on recruiting diverse boards? All of these topics and many more are covered.
Of course, you can simply use Guidestar Pro to verify your favorite charities!
Linda Hauck, MLS, MBA, is the Business Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library.