How Nonprofits Can Improve Their GuideStar Accounts

By Sophie McKnight / Intern at United Way of Bucks County

GuideStar is an online information service that focuses on reporting information about U.S. nonprofit organizations. A nonprofit can post all about their financials, programs, board members and more, all in one place for people to learn more about the organization.

One of my assignments for the summer is to update and improve UW Bucks’ GuideStar account.

My goal for this assignment is to provide as much information as possible in order for our account to earn a silver, gold, or even platinum Seal on GuideStar. These Seals are important because 77% of nonprofit accounts who received a donation through GuideStar in 2017 were Seal holders.

Now, besides all of the information provided on UW Buck’s website, what more could we add that people don’t already know?

GuideStar, along with Independent Sector and BBB Wise Giving Alliance, is a joint project of a five-question framework called the Charting Impact.

Charting Impact is five questions that create a framework to allow similar nonprofit organizations to learn from each other in order to better their own communities.

The Charting Impact questions are used to support the planning, evaluation, and assessment nonprofits take on. These questions are a great tool for every nonprofit organization no matter the size, or the mission.

Answering these questions will earn UW Bucks the GuideStar Seals that larger nonprofit organizations have earned to grow their accounts.

So, what are these questions?

1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

This is where the organization provides their goal, mission statement, groups and communities it assists, and expected outcomes for the next 3-5 years.

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

How is the organization going to reach the goal stated above? This is where the organization specifies it strategies and why it believes these methods will work.

3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

This question is where you determine your organization’s resources and connections that will support the progress towards your goal.

4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

Here, the organization will identify its smaller targets that will allow them to reach each milestone.

5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

Here is where the organization will include what it has learned so far while trying to accomplish its goals and what has and hasn’t worked during this process.

These five Charting Impact questions, along with simple updates to our program and board information, will hopefully allow us to connect with, and learn from more organizations like UW Bucks.

If you do not have one already, create a free GuideStar account and check out all of the updates and additions we are soon going to make!


Join us in changing lives in Bucks County for good by making a donation today. Donations can be made online or by mailing a check to, United Way of Bucks County, 413 Hood Blvd., Fairless Hills, PA 19030.