June 03, 2013

GuideStar's Leader on Social Change

Jacob Harold

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When Jacob Harold joined GuideStar as its new chief executive in October, he walked into an organization that was looking for its place in a rapidly changing world.

GuideStar has long been known as the publisher of financial information about nonprofits from the IRS Form 990. But as the federal government moves to make Form 990 data more freely available, Mr. Harold says the group needs to find new ways to collect more types of data from donors, nonprofits, scholars, and others.

Such data, he says, should offer better insights about what works to produce social change.

One thing he says he has already seen from his work over the years: Nonprofits can't rely on a single approach to pushing new ideas.

He points to the Rainforest Action Network as an example of a group that takes multiple approaches. The group might organize protesters to chain themselves to a fence one day and send representatives in suits to negotiate with corporate leaders the next day. 

In this episode of Making Change, Mr. Harold shares more of his thoughts about what nonprofits need to make a difference.


Hildy Gottlieb is the co-founder of Creating the Future and author of "The Pollyanna Principles: Reinventing 'Nonprofit Organizations' to Create the Future of Our World." In this podcast, Making Change, she interviews leaders to discuss how those who are working for the greater good can effect more social change. New episodes of Making Change appear once a month.