NUMBER 1:  If you have been recently awarded your 501 C 3 Nonprofit status from the IRS.  Go to GuideStar and update your information.

This company does not inform nonprofits that they have uploaded your information from the IRS into their database that donors use to find information about nonprofit organizations.  Worse:  on the very front page of your company's information page.  In lieu of your mission statement you will see:  "This organization has not provided  GuideStar with a mission statement."  As if somehow you were supposed to intuit they had done this.

It is unfortunate that you must play along with their schtick but you do as thousand of potential donors are sent to this database to find information about donors.  If they don't find any information about you and worse, information that looks like you've been derelict, you can kiss that donation goodbye.



Many fundraising authorities advise small local nonprofits to not even waste their efforts on participating in these campaigns.

The people behind #GivingTuesday are in it for the right reasons.  But for small and mid-sized nonprofit organizations who don’t have lots of extra time or staff to run projects and campaigns that aren’t going to pan out, it’s a waste of their time and money.   Here are a few of the reasons that expert fundraisers give:


1.  Your Message Will Get Crowded Out

Non-profit direct mail fundraisers know that one of the worst times to send a fundraising letter for a charity is in the couple of weeks before a major election.  Why?  Because the candidates and their supporters are going to be flooding mailboxes with oversized postcards, self-mailers, and every other type of direct mail communication possible.

Take a cue from direct mail experts, and send your fundraising communications on a day when your communication can be the star of the show…  not a day like #GivingTuesday when you will be one of dozens of requests your donors receive.


2. Giving Tuesday is Primarily a social media activity. 

Social media is good for  sending people over to your organization’s website by posting links to interesting, compelling and informative content.  Then, when donors click over to your website, you should be doing everything possible to get them to give you their email address—by signing up for your newsletter or to receive a free e-book or some giveaway.  Email is still the killer fundraising app on the Web.  Read Figuring Out Your Non-Profit’s Social Media Strategy to learn how to use social media the right way for fundraising.

3. Giving Tuesday encourages spot giving

Spot giving tactics are fundraising strategies that encourage one time gifts or gifts that are so tied to an external event as to take them out of the normal giving pattern for a non-profit’s donors.


4. You won’t raise a lot of money on Giving Tuesday

In 2012 donors gave over $10 million to nonprofits online on #GivingTuesday.  However, $10 millions spread out over thousands of nonprofit organizations is not that much—especially considering the lion’s share of the donations go to the larger fish in the sea who have both the time and the money to launch more extensive media appeals.


SOURCE FOR SOME OF THIS INFORMATION:  [ Accessed 7/29/2019 at 7:18 AM}

Recommended Reading:

How to Raise More Money for Any Non-Profit.




Send out your solicitations and plan your fundraising drives for late July to early August.  If you are a small local nonprofit, then make as much of your appeal face to face with small local businesses.  Like you, they too are small fish in an ocean filled with big box competition.  You are not going to have much appeal at a national level and you not going to have a lot of appeal even at a regional level when you are competing head on with large multinational nonprofits such as Habitat for Humanity or the Cancer Society.





Update the information for your organization on GuideStar.

What?  You never heard of GuideStar?  Well you can get in line with hundreds of other new small nonprofit organizations.  GuideStar is a nonprofit organization that is currently merging with another nonprofit called “Candid”.  But GuideStar has been around for at least 5 years that I know of.

GuideStar is a database with the names of all the nonprofit organizations who have registered with the IRS.  If you have registered and been certified as a 501 c3 nonprofit organization, you are in their database.  GuideStar is the database that many donors use to check up on a nonprofit that is asking them for money.  For example, it is reported that 55,000 from Facebook used GuideStar to check on organizations asking for donations on Facebook.

Big problem with GuideStar

They download the IRS files but the information is not sorted into a format that most donors will understand.  But more importantly GuideStar does not notify the nonprofit organizations that they have downloaded half-baked information about the organization and uploaded it to their database.  You have no way of knowing this has been done.

I never heard of GuideStar until almost three years after founding Loving Garland Green and we participated in North Texas Day of Giving and we were told we had to update our information in this database.  At that point in time we had already been in operation for almost three years.  So, for almost three years when any potential donor would look up Loving Garland Green on GuideStar, they would see a screen that looked like the following example.  [I’ve blanked out name of Nonprofit, Ein number and name/address of a member that appears on this page.



Notice in the image above, for the Mission statement GuideStar has taken it upon themselves to write in:  “This organization has not provided GuideStar with a mission statement”  --as if somehow this is all our fault that we didn’t write a mission statement to be included in the database of GuideStar, an organization we never even heard of.  But that doesn’t matter.  And even worse, the whole tone of this implies the nonprofit is somehow out of compliance, or lax in their duties—which is totally false.

This is just another example of how small fish swimming in the sea of multinational corporations have the odds stacked against them when it comes to fundraising in competition with large nonprofit organizations such as the American Heart Association, the Cancer Society and others.

It’s the same story in the world of for profit organizations. Mom and Pop local operations face the same one-sided type of competition with large corporations.  For example, here in the USA our government defines a “small business” as any company with fewer than 500 employees.  This means that subsidiaries of large multinational corporations like Bechtel can compete with small mom and pop operations for government subsidies.  As far as the true definition of a small business in the USA is concerned:  Of the 28 million small businesses in the USA, 22 million are individually operated without any employees. The United State’s small business community contributes roughly half of the total $17 trillion GDP (approximately $8.5 trillion.)


ADVICE TO DONORS:  Give more to local nonprofits!

Make a special effort to learn about and seek out your local nonprofits this year.  Like any local organization, more of the money you give to them will stay and directly benefit the people in your community and less of it will go for operating expenses for the nonprofit. If you come across a profile in GuideStar that looks like the one in this article, don’t just automatically write them off.  Seek them out.  Make a small effort to find their website or Facebook and learn who they are.  Don’t just depend on one source.  It’s to your advantage and to your community’s advantage to do this.  My three favorite nonprofits in my community of Garland:

Garland Area Makerspace (

Loving Garland Green ( )

Good Samaritans of Garland (


TIP 1 FOR LOCAL NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS: Update your GuideStar information.

I know, it’s not fair but if you want to give your organization the best chance possible to profit from fundraising efforts, you’ve got to go to GuideStar and update the worse than non-information that may be showing there for your nonprofit organization.

Go to this link and search under the name of your organization.


TIP 2 FOR LOCAL NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS:  Use technology to help contact donors.

Visit this Nonprofit Tech for Good.  It has some fabulous information to help you.





This is what a GuideStar listing for a nonprofit organization looks like after the members of the organization update it:


Below you can see what the Dallas Makerspace looks like.  Keep in mind Dallas Makerspace has been a nonprofit for almost 10 years and has over 400 members.I don't know why their site has SEE SCHEDULE O instead of  “This organization has not provided GuideStar with a mission statement”   as does the current site for Garland Area Makerspace.  I do know that Schedule O is the form for submitting supplemental information to the IRS Form 990.  I couldn't tell you why they have not updated their site in this database as did Loving Garland Green and others.  Perhaps they are less like sheep.  Perhaps their update is to simply reference donors to this IRS supplemental form--which is a little like saying "go play 52 card pickup" because that information really isn't very helpful--not that I would blame them for doing this at all.    

if nothing else this is a testimony to the reliability of the information in the GuideStar database.  The Dallas Makerspace has been around for almost 10 years has over 400 members and is a great organization deserving of community support but you wouldn't learn that here.

SO ONCE AGAIN, DONORS:  Please don't rely on one source when seeking information regarding nonprofits who deserve support.



Patriotism is, according to Merriam Webster, a "love for or devotion to one's country." Nationalism is a "sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups."

A flag is merely a symbol.  it is not THE nation nor is it THE people.  Its reverence should never be put above that of "we the people."



This 1920 depiction of Betsy Ross in the company of George Washington is most likely historically inaccurate.

About the Origin of the USA Flag

Once again it would appear that we've been sold a bill of goods when it comes to the history of our flag.  Most of us believe the story that Betsy Ross was visited by George Washington and sewed up the first flag in June of 1776.  There are no historical documents to substantiate this.  In fact, there is much to refute this claim.This pattern of the thirteen stars in a circle is now commonly called the "Betsy Ross flag", although claims by her descendants that Betsy Ross contributed to this design are not generally accepted by modern American scholars and vexillologists.  

  • There is no evidence to show that Betsy Ross and George Washington knew each other, or that George Washington was ever in her shop.
  • The Flag Resolution of June 1777 was the first documented meeting, discussion, or debate by Congress about a national flag.

Burgi and Liz with some of the harvest


Today was a harvest morning in the garden.  It always takes longer than I expect.  We started at 7:30 and finished at about 9:30.  Then we delivered to Good Samaritan's of Garland--as always a lovely place to visit.   Pam Swendig and the volunteers at Good Sam's do such a great job of managing the place.

Burgi and I picked three containers of blackberries; 12 grocery bags of Kale (about 4 servings each); four bags of red spinach; one bag of Malabar spinach;  two bags or oregano; four bags of basil and two bags of mint.  Our total count in weight this visit was 13 pounds.  But it all adds up over our long growing season.  For the past three years Loving Garland Green has averaged 450 pounds of produce a year.  Never hesitate to give because you think the gift from your garden is too small.  Feeding even one person one meal is never small.


"Ole Blue" loaded with fresh produce from the Garland Community Garden.



With a makerspace, creating prototypes for new Inventions and getting them to Market is not as difficult as it once was.

Elizabeth Berry

Since the time of Thomas Edison, invention has been as much about manufacturing and marketing inventions successfully as about having great ideas in the first place.

Some of the most famous inventors in history have developed existing ideas and made them successful. Edison didn't invent electric light, but he did develop the first commercially successful, long-lasting electric light bulb.

In much the same way, Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconican't really be credited with the invention of the radio. Other people, such as German Heinrich Hertz and Englishman Oliver Lodge, had already successfully demonstrated the science behind radio and sent the first radio messages. What Marconi did was to turn radio into a much more practical technology and sell it to the world through bold and daring demonstrations.

Successful inventions often have to dislodge existing ones, both from our minds (which often find it hard to imagine new ways of doing things) and from their hold on the marketplace (which they may have dominated for years or decades).

In the past it was difficult and expensive for an individual to create the prototype and then launch a new invention.  Thus, such activities remained largely the province of giant corporations with the expensive tools and space to build.  Our modern technology and the Internet today have changed all that.  And now with makerspaces to bring these expensive tools and latest technology together in a collaborative diverse environment we have the potential of a fast track the world has never seen for new inventions and technology.

Makerspaces Do Not Replace Manufacturing Companies

In conclusion, it is important to note that while makerspaces can spawn new inventions and technology, they are not in competition with manufacturing firms.  Makerspaces are not there to mass-produce items.  Makerspace are there to create one-of-kind things—as art or as prototypes to be produced in a manufacturing environment elsewhere.  A makerspace could not afford to allow one or two of its members to tie up use of their shared tools and technology for the ongoing mass production of one product.  If a maker invents something, they must approach a manufacturer to mass-produce it.