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Focusing on Nonprofit Impact

Donor infographic based on Money for Good II researchDonors would support high-impact nonprofits if they could readily find information on organizations' effectiveness. That was what 4,500 out of 5,000 donors told GuideStar and Hope Consulting as part of our Money for Good II research. (See the infographic on the right for more information; click on the image to view it full-size.)

Impact tab on a GuideStar Nonprofit ReportMeet the Impact Tab

To make it easier for donors to find this information, we have added an impact tab to our Nonprofit Reports. The impact tab offers:

  • Expert reviews and assessments for 2,300-plus organizations. (GuideStar Premium and GuideStar Charity Check subscribers need to sign out to view the tab)
  • Evidence of a nonprofit's effectiveness
  • Discussion of a nonprofit's organizational strengths
  • Assessment of areas where the nonprofit could improve
  • Quotes from the experts

Why Focus on Impact? Why Expert Reviews?

At GuideStar, we believe that the true measure of a nonprofit's effectiveness is how well it performs its mission. Unfortunately, there is no magic number that identifies high-performing nonprofits.

  • Overhead ratio, which many people rely on, is only one piece of the overall puzzle.
  • A nonprofit's mission can affect its operating costs, sometimes dramatically.
  • Even organizations working on the same issue may approach it differently.

Focusing on impact—the outcomes of an organization's work to serve and achieve its mission—and relying on experts allow us to account for these variables.

How Are the Reviews Gathered, and Who Are the Experts?

Philanthropedia, a division of GuideStar, asks foundation professionals, academics, researchers, nonprofit senior staff, and other experts in a particular field to identify the nonprofits that are having the most impact in that area. Using a crowd-sourcing methodology, Philanthropedia designates the nonprofits the experts cite the most as "Top Nonprofits." Any organization, however, that an expert identifies as effective—whether or not it is named a "Top Nonprofit"—gets an impact tab in its Nonprofit Report. To learn more about Philanthropedia's methodology and experts, see the following articles:

Other GuideStar Resources for Measuring Nonprofit Impact