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One Year of GuideStar Platinum: Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future

One Year of GuideStar Platinum: Lessons Learned and Plans for the FutureThis month we’re celebrating the one-year anniversary of our Platinum Seal of Transparency. Platinum is GuideStar’s highest level of recognition and an opportunity for nonprofits to share their progress in a meaningful way.

When Platinum launched, it was the only tool of its kind that highlighted nonprofits’ results in both a common format and a universal platform—and this is still true today. Platinum gives key decision makers the opportunity to evaluate nonprofits based on the difference they are making to their missions, not overly simplistic financial ratios.

We want to highlight some of the progress Platinum has made, talk about where it will go from here, and share a celebratory opportunity with you.

Platinum’s First Year

With a year’s worth of road behind us, we have learned a lot about how a tool like Platinum can help the sector. To date, more than 2,200 organizations have shared their metrics through Platinum. Here are a few things we’ve learned:

  • It's a tool for the entire sector—Seeing how widely the Platinum Seal has been adopted is one of the most exciting things to come from this process. Nonprofits from all major cause areas have earned a Platinum Seal. To us, this means that sharing your progress and results can be universal. It indicates that, as a sector, we are ready to move beyond overhead ratios so that we can be judged by the difference we are making.
One Year of GuideStar Platinum: Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future
  • We're not all snowflakes—We developed the Common Results Catalog as a resource for organizations to identify frequently used metrics for their respective areas. To our pleasant surprise, more than 70 percent of all the metrics shared through Platinum have come from this catalog! We hopethis widespread use indicates that the catalog is helping nonprofits learn from and find commonalities among one another. Developing a common language to share our strengths is a key piece of developing a stronger sector that doesn’t rely solely on financials to tell stories of success.
  • Your metrics increase our collective understanding—Nearly 3,000 custom metrics have been shared through Platinum. From these metrics we are learning more about how organizations articulate their work. And we’re passing that information on to the rest of the sector. We plan to add more metrics to the Common Results Catalog for others to benefit from and will continue to include new metrics in the future.

Where We’re Going from Here

We created GuideStar Platinum with iteration in mind. Using our insights from the last 12 months, here are two ideas that we think will help us to better serve nonprofits.

  • Make more room for context—Many organizations are not only sharing their accomplishments but also statistics on the problems they are working to solve. For example, a job training organization may find it useful to share not only the number of people it serves but also the number of people who are unemployed people in the area. This figure helps demonstrate the need the nonprofit is addressing. Such context is an important part of each organization’s story, so we want to offer a space to define the problem and solution fully. Be on the lookout for this section soon.
  • Add more tools for beneficiary feedback—We’ve learned that many of you are highlighting assessments by those you directly serve of your responses and outcomes. That’s great news! Going forward we want to create space to highlight this feedback from your constituents.

Our Gift to One Platinum Organization

Last but not least, we want to celebrate our birthday by giving back to those we serve (you!) On June 15, we will randomly select one Platinum organization to receive a $500 donation. All your organization needs to participate is to (1) have a Platinum Seal of Transparency and (2) be eligible to accept tax-deductible contributions. Learn more about the giveaway

Don’t have a Platinum Seal yet? Haven’t even claimed your organization's GuideStar Nonprofit Profile yet? Don't worry! You have time. Plus, we're hosting a work session to walk through the Seals of Transparency on Tuesday, June 6. Register for the work session

Ready to dive in now? Check out this step-by-step guide on how to earn Platinum.

Thanks to everyone who has updated your organization’s profile to the Platinum level. It’s because of you that GuideStar Platinum has been a success. More important, it’s because of you that the sector has taken its first steps toward a meaningful way to measure results.

One Year of GuideStar Platinum: Lessons Learned and Plans for the FutureThe preceding post is by Jasmine Marrow, GuideStar's director of nonprofit strategy. Jasmine’s goal is to help nonprofits share their full and complete stories with the world using their GuideStar Nonprofit Profiles. Jasmine has over a decade of nonprofit experience across a variety of sectors and a passion for connecting people and organizations with the tools to help them succeed. She has her Master's of Public Policy from Mills College in Oakland, CA, where she also earned her Bachelor's degree.

Topics: GuideStar Platinum GuideStar Nonprofit Profiles