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Gearing up for the 2020 Giving Season—the best GuideStar Profile tips for fundraisers

GuideStar Nonprofit Profile for Exceptional Minds

Our communities need us. They need us to be steady, to be resilient, to act, and to give hope. And we need them—we need donors, volunteers, and cheerleaders. It’s time to take a deep breath and gear up for the last three months of the year—aka the 2020 Giving Season.

September is the time to get ready to highlight your organization’s work on #GivingTuesday and through the end of the year. As 2020 pours propane on the “all-virtual-all-the-time” fire—with many virtual firsts (first online grocery order? first virtual medical visit?)—fundraising is no different. With fewer opportunities to get donations in person, this is the time to grow your digital presence.

Not sure where to start? I am going to share 5 tips for telling the world about your organization’s work using your Nonprofit Profile on

Wait, don’t I already have a Nonprofit Profile?

Very likely, but it’s probably bare bones and likely out of date, and those are problems. If you haven’t recently updated your free Nonprofit Profile on GuideStar, you are missing on an important way to grow trust in your organization.

Updating is free. You can start here to claim your profile and start telling your story. Almost 80,000 organizations have not only claimed their profiles but earned a Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. Can you afford not to?

My five best tips for maximizing your Nonprofit Profile

I look at hundreds of profiles each month and hear from hundreds of people who use GuideStar every day. Here are my five best profile tips to help you get noticed and get ready for the Giving Season:

1. Communicate what you are doing—not your missed plans

2020 is not the year I thought it was going to be. If your year has not gone according to plan, don’t stress—communicate. Use the profile to say what your organization is doing—by updating your mission statement and program descriptions (at the Bronze level). Refresh your goals and strategies to earn a Gold Seal of Transparency.

2. Share your financial summary and latest 990

If you’re asking for money, donors and funders need to know that you are responsible and trustworthy with money. Now and always. Don’t make them ask; just tell them what they need to know and earn a Silver Seal of Transparency.

3. Ask your executive director to say more about who they are

The question of “Who leads?” a nonprofit is critical and timely. Many funders are looking for organizations that include and represent the people they serve. Make sure you identify your CEO/executive director and that you complete the leader information in the demographics section. Ask your board and staff to participate. No guessing! Ask and only share how people publicly self-identify.

4. Make your latest update to your board (or funder) go further

Some people feel they need to create new content just for their profile—it’s not necessary. Save your creative energies for the #GivingTuesday campaign. Your latest update to your board or your latest grant application is an excellent source of material. Make it go further by sharing the content via the Nonprofit Profile.

5. Share at least one metric—and you’re Platinum

Results matter. If you’ve earned Bronze, Silver, and Gold Seals of Transparency, it takes one (1) metric to reach the Platinum Seal. Make it an outcome—measuring something that the people you serve experience. Don’t just tell them what you do, show them.

Want to learn more?

For more in-depth advice and a conversation about the 2020 Giving Season with my guest—nonprofit fundraising professional Rachel Wyley—join me on September 9 at 2 p.m. ET for the “Leverage Your Nonprofit Profile to Achieve Funding Success This Giving Season” webinar. Register for the webinar. Register for the webinar.


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  • Owen Ambur says:

    September 3, 2020 5:14 pm

    Eva, I'm exploring with the folks at Charity Navigator and ImpactMatters prospects for publishing nonprofit plans and reports in open, standard, machine-readable StratML format. It would be great if Candid/GuideStar could be engaged in a joint effort toward that end. The data you've gathered for your Platinum-rated charities gives you a head start.