Philanthropedia Blog

Exciting Announcement: GuideStar Acquires Philanthropedia

March 17th, 2011 by Deyan Leave a reply »

Today, we are thrilled to announce GuideStar’s acquisition of Philanthropedia.

GuideStar is the industry leader in nonprofit data with information on more than 1.8 million nonprofits. They have been a long-time supporter of our work and are excited to help us expand our research. And, as an industry leader, GuideStar has a national audience of millions of professionals, funders, advisors, individuals, and others meaning we can finally reach that larger audience we had hoped to reach. The Philanthropedia team will remain intact in our Silicon Valley office in Menlo Park, CA, which will become GuideStar’s west coast office.

You can read the official press release on GuideStar’s website.

Our Story

While the idea for Philanthropedia began in 2008, it wasn’t until the last year and a half that we formally grew and developed the idea into what you see on our site today. When we began in June 2009 as an incorporated entity, applying for our own nonprofit status, we just had the results from our pilot study in education. Thirty nine experts had recommended 8 top nonprofits. Admittedly, our methodology had a long way to go, but even with that small experiment, we were able to prove that there was something interesting about this idea and that just maybe, we’d be able to leverage a resource that had never been leveraged before: experts’ knowledge of high-impact nonprofits.

In 2010, with incredible support from the Hewlett Foundation, we committed to refining our methodology and two iterations later, we have a version that again and again produces consistent and increasingly high quality results across causes and geographies. With our methodology refined, our next goal was to scale our work to cover the most interesting causes to donors. By the end of 2010, we had grown to cover 15 causes (at the local, national, international, and disaster relief levels), recommending just under 200 top nonprofits by surveying 1,400 experts. Additionally, we collected expert reviews on another 1,500 nonprofits bringing our total number of reviews to-date to more than 10,000.

Our goal has always been to provide more and better information to donors about high impact nonprofits so that donors can give more strategically, make a bigger impact with their own philanthropic money, and ultimately, increase the pace of social change. So last fall, we asked ourselves: what’s next? Do we continue to run our research, expanding into more local, national, and international causes? Well, yes, that’s certainly something we would like to do. However, what about the reach of this information? We’ve always tried to think about how we can reach more donors and influence a broader audience. However, with so many great initiatives in the nonprofit sector today, we had a hunch that to really accomplish this, we couldn’t go it alone. That’s why, over this last year and a half, we’ve been keen on partnering with our colleagues in the sector, including GuideStar, GiveWell, Root Cause, GreatNonprofits, and many others.

GuideStar has been a long-time supporter of our work, reassuring us that they value our contribution to the sector and have every intention of supporting us to continue expanding our research. GuideStar is an industry leader in nonprofit data and transparency. With the complete database of more than 1.8 million nonprofits, the data-nerd in us is giddy with excitement about the opportunity to be able to interact with that data and use it to further our work and the work of the sector.

In our perfect world, we’d be able to work more closely and formally with a partner organization to be able to continue running our research, but at the same time, reach a wider audience. Therefore, when GuideStar approached us about an acquisition, we were incredibly excited about the potential of this arrangement. Therefore, it is with the greatest excitement that we announce today GuideStar’s acquisition of Philanthropedia. Rest assured we will continue to run our research, expand into new causes, re-run past causes, and explore new ways to collect expert reviews of high impact nonprofits—all with the continued goal of directing more dollars to those outstanding organizations.

We want to thank you all for your incredible support over the last few years—we could not have been able to accomplish such scale without your commitment to openly sharing information about nonprofits and without your interest in learning about that data. We hope we can continue to count on your support as we move onto this next phase of our work and find a new, wonderful home for our small start-up.

Thank you again and we invite you will stay tuned in the coming weeks to hear about which causes we’ll be researching in 2011!

With our warmest wishes and gratitude,

The Philanthropedia Team



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