Lesson #16 – Chapter GuideStar Profile and Lesson #17 Chapter Form 990

Greetings from GrantLessons!

Well the weather has warmed up after several weeks of rain. We continue this week with information about GuideStar and the chapter’s Form 990. If you have not been out on GuideStar you should check it out they have made changes. You now can see the charting impact report for your chapter and we can see each others as can anyone who accesses GuideStar.

Lesson #16 – Chapter GuideStar Profile
GuideStar is a database filled with information about nonprofit organizations: public charities and public foundations. GuideStar obtains the information used in its database from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Each nonprofit has a profile on the GuideStar website at http://www.guidestar.org . GuideStar allows each organization to claim their profile and then to update and embellish the profile with more specific information. All chapters who desire to raise funding should become GuideStar Premium members because funders may look at your profile as part of their evaluation process. GuideStar does not have information about corporations.

How to Start
In order to use GuideStar, the committee member needs to create an account and log in for the chapter using the email username and password established in Lesson 1. Go to http://www.guidestar.org to start.

Claiming your Profile
Search for your nonprofit organization, when your chapter’s name comes up select the link and you will be in the chapter’s profile. Again the information displayed is from the nonprofit’s Form 990 or Form 990PF.

GuideStar Exchange
The GuideStar Exchange is an opportunity for you to show your organization’s commitment to transparency and communicate directly with your stakeholders through GuideStar—for FREE. GuideStar has several videos on their website on how a chapter can claim and update their profile. There are three levels of participation on GuideStar Exchange: Bronze, silver, and gold. Gold participant level brings with it several benefits.

GuideStar Premium Subscription
Once you have completed the required fields for Gold Level Participation and have published the changes, you will be eligible to receive one free GuideStar Premium subscription (a $1,500 value). Your free GuideStar Premium subscription will remain active at no charge as long as your GuideStar Exchange information is up to date and meets the Gold Participant requirements. Our chapter’s GuideStar profile should be updated annually. GuideStar Premium subscription allows additional information about potential funders and provides the capacity to upload the information to an Excel spreadsheet. You have to claim your subscription to be able to access this benefit.   One must claim this benefit by providing their email address. It will take 24 to 48 hours for GuideStar to recognize the request and populate the extra fields.

Lesson 17 – Chapter Form 990
A nonprofit organization files a Form 990 (Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax). Form 990 is an information return that is filed annually. It is the mechanism used to communicate the organization’s financial information and activities to the IRS each year.
Funders will ask for Form 990s. Scan the chapter’s Form 990 document and place into a Dropbox subfolder and into the hard files. Funders often ask for previous Form 990s. Putting at least the past two years in Dropbox and the hard files will help if one finds that more than one year is requested by the funder.

There are two main types of Form 990. Chapters file Form 990 and foundations file Form 990PF. Some members of the public rely on Form 990 or Form 990PF as their primary or sole source of information about a particular nonprofit organization. Form 990s are generally available for public inspection. You need to start looking at Form 990s for any funder you may think is going to have an opportunity for you to collaborate with.

Catch me when you can and I will catch up with you soon! Sandie


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