You may have heard that GuideStar and Foundation Center have joined forces. Now that we’ve become Candid, our commitment to promoting transparency is stronger than ever.
We have just released the 2019 Seals of Transparency on GuideStar, and nonprofit organizations can earn one today. The Seals are a tangible way to demonstrate your organization’s commitment to transparency and build confidence among potential supporters.
Read on to learn more about the Seals, what’s changed since last year, and how you can earn your 2019 Seal.
What Is a Seal of Transparency, and Why Does My Nonprofit Want One?
A Seal of Transparency appears on an organization’s Nonprofit Profile on GuideStar when the organization has publicly shared important information about its work.
The Seals help your nonprofit tell its complete story, which in turn gives funders and donors a meaningful way to understand your organization’s work. Recent research indicates that transparency has a tangible benefit: as a group, organizations that earned a Seal received 53 percent more in contributions than nonprofits that had not earned Seals. Earning a Seal also allows you to add a donation button to your Nonprofit Profile.
The Seals are free—but they require you to share truthful information for public display on GuideStar, including:
Bronze—basic information, such as mission, leadership team and board names, and basic program information.
Gold—qualitative information about goals, strategies, and vision.
Platinum—metrics to show progress made toward your mission.
You must earn Bronze before you can earn Silver, Silver before you can earn Gold, and Gold before you can earn Platinum. You can access the complete list of fields in our 2019 GuideStar Profile Standard—Best Practices Guide.
A Seal is not a rating. Instead, it indicates the type and amount of information your nonprofit has shared.
Once you’ve earned a Seal of Transparency, you can celebrate via social media and share the image on your website and in print.
My Organization Doesn’t Have a Seal. How Can We Get One?
Someone from your nonprofit will need to claim and update your Nonprofit Profile on GuideStar. If you need assistance, please visit our Help Center. Once you’ve completed and submitted the required fields, you’ll earn a 2019 Seal of Transparency.
I’m Familiar with the Seals. What’s Changed for 2019?
The 2019 Seals of Transparency ask you to provide and publish your most up-to-date information:
Bronze: Just review your information—required fields did not change.
Silver: Provide the latest available (Fiscal Year 2018 or 2017) financials.
Gold: Just review your information—required fields did not change.
Platinum: We’ve updated this section:
At least one (1) metric must be from 2018.
You must tag new metrics with Type of Metric and Direction of Success Tags before they can be saved and published.
You have the option to upload External Evaluation documents (up to 20 PDF files, up to 20MB each) to your profile.
To learn which fields are required for each Seal, see the 2019 GuideStar Profile Standard.
My Organization Has a Seal. What Happens Now?
As long as you’ve updated your profile within the last 24 months, you’ll keep your current Seal. It won’t be a 2019 Seal, however, which means your supporters won’t be seeing your up-to-date information, and they’ll know it!
To earn a 2019 Seal, you’ll need to:
upload your latest financials (2017 or 2018) to your profile;
add at least one metric from 2018; and
publish these changes.
What If I Need Help?
Please visit our Help Center. If you don’t find what you need, use the chat box in the lower right-hand corner to talk with a member of our Stakeholder Support Team.
Almost 70,000 organizations have recognized transparency as both the right and the smart thing to do and have embraced it by earning a Seal of Transparency on GuideStar. Thank you for building the movement, and let’s keep the momentum going in 2019!
Eva Nico is Candid’s senior director of nonprofit programs. She is the in-house expert on nonprofit strategy and evaluation issues. Eva’s goals are to help nonprofits share their full stories using the GuideStar Nonprofit Profile and to use the information to make better decisions. In her role, Eva also advocates for greater transparency and use of data among nonprofits and for solutions to address the “The Overhead Myth.”