2014 has been an exciting year for GuideStar. We celebrated our 20th anniversary and launched several new products and initiatives, all aligned with our GuideStar 2020 vision for building the information infrastructure for social change and ensuring that the nonprofit sector is equipped to tackle the great challenges of our time.
The support of our many partners is critical to our success; and more importantly to the success of the nonprofit organizations we serve, and to the individuals, communities and ecosystems served by the sector.
Among our many partners are our GuideStar Foundation Members. With the launch of GuideStar 2020, it seemed appropriate and timely to refresh our Membership offering, providing foundations with the opportunity to invest more deeply in GuideStar’s work, access tools necessary to efficiently and effectively accomplish grant-making activities, and create a dynamic, collaborative community.
Refreshing an existing program is not an easy task, but an important undertaking to bring greater clarity and value to program participants and ensure strong alignment with organizational goals. We believe this is the case with GuideStar’s new Membership Program. By taking an iterative approach to the redesign, we were able to learn and improve along the way while listening to feedback from our beneficiaries. We first evaluated previous membership models, then conducted an environmental scan of national membership programs, built several membership-tiered models, and gained internal and external feedback (including insights from current and prospective members). We tested the concept with a small segment; results led to further tweaking to ensure that our program is clear, engaging, and of benefit to foundation partners.
As we look ahead to 2015, we hope the GuideStar Membership Program will grow as more foundations join to support and share our mission. As we continue to test the program within our targeted community, we will keep an eye to serving other groups as well – remembering that diverse audiences have diverse needs. Additionally, we will build the Program within the framework of Guidestar’s other work – ensuring that the Membership Program complements other efforts.
We are excited about the Membership Program and happy to answer any questions you might have. There are many ways to engage with GuideStar; if Membership is not right for your organization, feel free to create an engagement that best meets your needs.
GuideStar looks forward to working with you; together we can build a stronger nonprofit sector. We also would welcome hearing from you about program redesigns you may have undertaken – How does your organization refresh long-standing programs? How do you ensure that your various programs work together?
Beth Suarez is GuideStar’s director of development. Beth came to GuideStar with 25 years of experience in nonprofit fundraising and development, including positions with PBS, National Trust for Historic Preservation and Catholic Charities USA. She is active in the local nonprofit community and serves on various boards. You can reach Beth at firstname.lastname@example.org.