April 10, 2014

Opportunity Lost? What Story External Profiles Tell About Your Non-Profit Organization

There are a number of prominent and emerging websites that provide external profiles of non-profit organizations. Funders, including repeat funders, use these sites to check a non-profit’s legitimacy and track record. This is especially true for the 98% of foundations and 97% of donor advisors that perform fact finding due diligence prior to making awards.[1]

Many young organizations are unaware of these opportunities to reach out and improve relationships with potential funders; and many established organizations grow calloused to what is posted on these sites about their non-profit’s performance.

These profiles are a compilation of IRS records; the organization’s own input; and external reviews. These sites helps providers, advocates, and policy makers increase their visibility and access to a wide range of funders and allow non-profits to put their best foot forward and to keep it there.

They provide the first and, in many cases, only external source of information potential donors see. And funders see your information whether you keep it up to date and accurate or not.

You can use these donor-frequented channels to strengthen your organization’s presentation and demonstrate its commitment to transparency and accountability by:

  • Highlighting compelling testimonials, photos, and videos
  • Presenting up-to-date contact, program, and financial information
  • Adding Social Return on Investment (SROI) summaries
  • Providing infographics showing how funding is used
  • Publishing an accessible and actionable Wish List
  • Sharing policy and advocacy information
  • Highlighting community support and partnerships
  • Posting publications and program tools

Make your presentations colorful, insightful, targeted, and reliable. This lets donors see your group as one that is proactive, responsible, and impactful in your field.


Non-Profit Profile Listing, Review, and Information Sharing Services

Listing/Review Sites

Who They Are What They Do Check Your Listing Here
American Institute for Philanthropy Charity Watch
  • Provides listings and member benefits
  • Donor driven listings, typically over $1m
Better Business Bureau (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance http://www.bbb.org/us/Charity-Reviews/
Charity Navigator
  • Provides ratings, tips and resources
  • Accepts listing requests for review
Guidestar http://www.guidestar.org/rxg/update-nonprofit-report/how-to-update-your-nonprofit-report.aspx
  • Summary charity profiles
  • Reviews, shared with Guidestar
  • Subscription-only service
  • Largest charitable org database worldwide
  • Provides fundraising tools, grant searches, training, and mailing lists.
  • Summary charity profiles
  • Hosts fundraising events
  • Provides some grants
  • Provides a media outlet for charities
  • Donate Now! button

Information Sharing Sites

Who They Are What They Do Check Your Listing Here
Community Commons
  • Interactive GIS mapping, networking, and learning utilities
  • Livable Communities movement focus
  • Hosts learning and sharing events
ERIN Project (Educational Resource Information Navigator)
  • Innovative information sharing system for organizations working in the public education landscape
  • Policy, Research, Information Systems lens for US Educational systems
This site is currently under reconstruction
New School Venture Fund Education Technology Landscape
  • Identifies current classroom technologies
  • Resource mapping capabilities
  • Combines statewide resources into central directory
  • Shares information on policy, advocacy, funding, resource sharing, tools, research, and on-the-ground work in highly accessible, actionable form.
  • Resource mapping capabilities


The choice is yours and it’s free for all non-profits. Make checking and updating your profile a part of your internal annual due diligence that supports your relationship building efforts with funders.

Need help with that? Let us know – we can assist at a level appropriate for your need.

Other Resources:


[1] Money For Good II, Driving Dollars to the Highest Performing Nonprofits. 2011. Hope Consulting.

[2] Board members, volunteers, donors, recipients of services, and other stakeholders can all provide review text.

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