Business Research Database Blog Series: GuideStar

What Will You Find?

GuideStar  helps answer the question “How are nonprofits spending their money?” It provides financial and organizational data for over 1.8M IRS recognized U.S. nonprofits, community foundations, and faith-based organizations.  You may search by criteria including  location, employee size, and type of 990 filed.

Financial data included in GuideStar’s reports cover revenue and expense data for the current year, balance sheet data for up to five years, annual reports for all years, funding sources (such as contributions, program service revenue, fundraising, etc.) and expenditures for contractors.

Organizational data in GuideStar covers demographics including gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability for board members, senior staff, full time staff and part time staff, as well as compensation for key employees.

GuideStar allows searches to be exported in Excel, just register using your email. There is a limit of 1000 downloads per user per month. 

For research tips, use this cheat sheet: Guidestar: Creating Your Custom Search

Use for Class Projects

This can be helpful when working on  experiential client projects.  For example, if your class is working with a non-profit that is seeking to grow revenue,  you can make informed recommendations by reviewing peer organization’s their budgets and how they use their funds.  It can also help you benchmark competitors.

Use for Interview Prep

If you are considering working in a nonprofit, GuideStar will help identify lists of target organizations based on geography, organizational focus, and size of firm.  Of note, the data from the 990 will often include the compensation of key employees, which can provide insight for salary negotiation.

Additional Business Resources

You can also use the Business Research Guide to locate additional business resources, locate tips for how to use them, and understand which are best for your specific research needs.

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