GuideStar’s Seal of Transparency – Does my Organization Need It?

Is your nonprofit maximizing the benefits of GuideStar?  Do you have GuideStar’s Seal of Transparency?

GuideStar is the go-to website for finding information on nonprofits and reviewing their Form 990s.  Your nonprofit’s presence and profile on GuideStar can help you get more views and more donor contributions.  Even more is possible if your page is marked with a GuideStar Seal of Transparency.

GuideStar offers four different Seals of Transparency—Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum—all free of charge. A 2018 study found that nonprofits that displayed a GuideStar Seal of Transparency were more likely to receive donations than those that only created a profile and opted to receive contributions through GuideStar.  Furthermore, the study found that in 2017 an organization that had a Gold or Platinum Seal received contributions that were 11% higher than the combined average donations for non-Seal holders and organizations with Bronze or Silver Seals.

So, how can your organization get one of these valuable seals? GuideStar offers Transparency Seals based on the amount of information that a nonprofit includes in its online profile. Here are the specifics for each level of recognition:


  • Organization address, contact name and email
  • Mission Statement
  • Name of Organization leader and Board Chair
  • Program names, descriptions and population served
  • Geographic area served by program


  • Each of the requirement under Bronze Seal, plus
  • Audited financial report OR basic financial information


  • Each of the requirement under the Bronze and Silver Seals, plus
  • 5 Charting Impact Questions (goals, strategies, capabilities, indicators, progress)


  • Each of the requirements under the Bronze, Silver and Gold Seals, plus
  • Metrics demonstrating your progress and results
  • Use of GuideStar’s selection of common metrics or your own custom metrics

The first three Seal levels require an estimated 15 minutes, annually, while the Platinum Seal requires an estimated 30 minutes, annually.  So, what are you waiting for? It’s easy to make your organization more visible to potential donors and new sources of contributions.