GuideStar UK website will still be free, says new owner the Directory of Social Change

Transfer deal with GuideStar International covered by confidentiality clause

The Directory of Social Change pledged yesterday to keep the GuideStar UK website free to users after announcing it had taken control of the site from GuideStar International.

The DSC, which provides information and training, mainly for small charities, also acquired GuideStar Data Services, the commercial arm of the organisation.

The terms of the deal are covered by a confidentiality clause, but it is understood no money changed hands.

GuideStar UK holds data on all UK charities in a more searchable form than the Charity Commission database. GuideStar Data Services also gathers details of non-charitable third sector organisations and has information on 350,000 organisations in all.

Although GuideStar Data Services has some high value contracts, the organisation has struggled financially and required subsidy by GuideStar International, according to Debra Allcock Tyler, chief executive of the DSC.

She said the transfer had the potential to improve public understanding of what charities are and do.

GuideStar UK, which attracts 700,000 unique users a year, would continue to be a free site, she said, and  the DSC would use it to collate data that would help funders "make more informed grantmaking decisions".

Caroline Neligan, director of partnerships and development at GuideStar International, which has established similar ventures in other countries, said GuideStar Data Services had done a good job of selling data to institutions in a difficult financial climate.

She said giving the site to the DSC was in line with GuideStar International's strategy of setting up sites and then transferring ownership of them to the not-for-profit sector.

Buzz Schmidt, chief executive of GuideStar International, said he was confident the DSC would "wholeheartedly advance GuideStar's mission to promote greater public understanding of the work of charities".

Three GuideStar employees will transfer to the DSC, which will also recruit two IT staff to develop the site.

Richard Williams, director of enterprise at sector umbrella body the National Council of Voluntary Organisations, said: "The information provided by GuideStar's website is essential to help people understand the scope and impact of our sector, and we find the extra data we purchase a valuable resource for our own research projects. We look forward to the Directory of Social Change continuing this work and driving further improvements."

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