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What’s trending? Top subject searches in Candid nonprofit profiles 

A team doing searches online.

Have you ever wondered what the funders, donor advisors, and other industry professionals who use Candid nonprofit profiles are searching for? It’s one way to get inside the minds of people who use Candid’s GuideStar to discover organizations aligned with their values.  

Candid users conduct more than 100,000 searches of nonprofit profiles on average each month, most commonly by keyword, subject area, and geography. For this article, we looked at a subset of the more than 10,000 subject area searches conducted with Candid’s Guidestar Pro, which is used frequently by funders and donor advisors. Here we provide a snapshot of what’s been trending. and whether your profile might benefit from a review and update.  

We’re focusing on subject areas because this controlled vocabulary is consistent and can be accurately ranked. These subject areas are derived from Candid’s Philanthropy Classification System. The subject areas in Candid’s nonprofit profiles are typically based on the organization’s stated mission and programmatic descriptions from the IRS Business Master File; nonprofits that claim their profiles can update their subject area(s) themselves as part of the requirements for earning a Bronze Seal of Transparency.  

Arts and culture, human services lead top-level subject area searches 

Looking at top-level searches of the broadest subject categories available, the five most common subject queries represent a broad cross-section of the sector:  

February 2024 top-level subject searches

  1. Arts and culture 
  2. Human services 
  3. Health 
  4. Education 
  5. Community and economic development 

Of these top five categories, arts and culture represented 22.2% of subject area searches of nonprofit profiles, followed closely by human services (22.1%).  

So, we looked under the hood to see which sub-categories were most searched within each of these areas: 

February 2024 top 10 sub-category searches, arts and culture 
Ranking Sub-category Main category
1 Art museums Museums
2 Ethnic museums Museums
3 Ballet Dance: Performing arts
4 Traditional knowledge Cultural awareness
5 (Tie) Sacred sites Cultural awareness
5 (Tie) History museums Museums
6 Children’s museums Museums
7 Natural history museums Museums
8 Arts education Arts services
9 (Tie) Historic preservation Historical activities
9 (Tie) Science museums Museums
10 Commemorations Historical activities

It appears that not only museums and performing arts organizations but various arts and culture sub-categories saw similarly high numbers of profile searches in February. 

February 2024 top 10 sub-category searches, human services 
Ranking Sub-category Main category
1 Group homes: Supportive housing Shelter and residential care
2 Senior assisted living: Elder housing Shelter and residential care
3 Homeless shelters Shelter and residential care
4 Foster care: Child welfare Family services
5 Child care: Child welfare Family services
6 Food banks: Food aid Basic and emergency aid
7 Dining services: Food aid Basic and emergency aid
8 (Tie) Food delivery: Food aid Basic and emergency aid
8 (Tie) Food aid Basic and emergency aid
9 Victim aid Basic and emergency aid
10 Thrift shops Basic and emergency aid

While a variety of human service issue areas were searched, housing services topped the list, followed closely by children’s services. In February, bucking end-of-year trends, none of these human services sub-categories were searched more often than the arts and culture sub-categories listed above.   

Arts and culture searches surged in January and February

For the most part, arts and culture, human services, health, education, and community and economic development were consistently among the five most searched subject areas across Candid’s nonprofit profiles from November through February. Interestingly, all five categories saw month-over-month declines in the number of searches in December, possibly because users broadened their focus to identify additional recipients during end of year giving. 

Looking at top queries month by month can help identify trends among and within certain types of profiles during specific time periods. For example, arts and culture groups saw month-over-month increases of 111% in January and 61% in February. These surges in arts and culture searches followed a 42% drop in December.  

If you’re inspired to update your nonprofit profile, you should know that the elements donors tend to review are programmatic and strategy details, charitable status, financial information, demographic data, and any available examples of how you are tracking your progress and measuring your results. Nonprofits can earn Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum Seals of Transparency, depending on how much information your organization shares in its profile. And some donors filter their results to view organizations that have earned a Seal of Transparency. In February, for example, users conducted more than 6,200 searches for organizations with Seals of Transparency.  

Many giving platforms and services partner with Candid to help their clients and donors connect to charities aligned with their interests and values, making your Candid nonprofit profile a great tool for raising your organization’s visibility with donor-advised funds, institutional funders, and individual donors and volunteers.  

Photo credit: Pixels Effect via gettyimages


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  • emorut james says:

    April 3, 2024 4:36 am

    The information I have read through is very motivating for those who have organizations like me . My organization exists to giving people living with disabilities vocational skills
    for purposes of self sustainability So I would like to receive updates about grant makers and grantees success and set backs in order to learn from them.