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Introducing our 2020 Seals of Transparency

Round Seal with the GuideStar star surrounded by the words GUIDESTAR SEAL OF TRANSPARENCY 2020

We launch the 2020 Seals of Transparency on GuideStar at a chaotic time for the nonprofit sector, our country, and the world. We know the situation is not normal. We understand if you have more pressing actions to take during the unfolding coronavirus pandemic. But we also want to keep communication lines between nonprofits and potential supporters open—and updating a Nonprofit Profile and earning the current Seal is one way to do that.

As of today, you can be one of the first organizations to earn a new 2020 Seal of Transparency. The Seals are a tangible way to demonstrate your organization’s commitment to transparency and build confidence among potential supporters.

You can also share—by updating how you describe your mission, programs or simply adding a “Note from the Nonprofit”—how you are affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Read on to learn more about the Seals, what’s changed since last year, and how you can earn your 2020 Seals of Transparency.

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.
  • Silver—financial 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 2020 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 2020 Seal of Transparency.

I’m familiar with the Seals. What’s changed for 2020?

The 2020 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. We did, however, add an optional new field where you can update with U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) your organization works toward.
  • Silver: Provide the latest available financials (must be from fiscal year 2019 or 2018).
  • Gold: Just review your information—required fields did not change.
  • Platinum: Just update your information with your latest results. At least one (1) metric must be from 2019.

To learn which fields are required for each Seal, see the 2020 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 2020 Seal, however, which means your supporters won’t be seeing your up-to-date information, and they’ll know it!

To earn a 2020 Seal, you’ll need to:

  • review existing information to make sure nothing has changed;
  • upload your latest financials (2018 or 2019) to your profile;
  • add at least one metric from 2019; 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.

A closing thought

We hope that updating your Nonprofit Profile is an opportunity to communicate with potential supporters during this chaotic time. We invite you to share—by updating how you describe your mission, programs, or simply adding a “Note from the Nonprofit”—how you are affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Whether your organization funds social good or provides direct services, your efforts will be crucial as the world copes with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. As things evolve, Candid will look for new and creative ways to support you, the people at the front lines of social good.


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  • suzanne says:

    March 30, 2021 3:00 pm

    Hi, Robert,

    You are correct. Organizations can only earn a 2021 Seal at this time.

    Thanks for your message!

    Suzanne Coffman
    Editorial Director, Candid

  • Robert says:

    March 30, 2021 2:31 pm

    Hi. the date is March 2021.

    Is it too late to receive the 2020 seals?

  • suzanne says:

    April 16, 2020 9:49 am

    Hi, Lisa,

    Follow these instructions to display the Seal on your website: If you need to download the image to use it in printed items, follow these instructions:

    Congratulations on earning your 2020 Seal!


    Suzanne Coffman
    Editorial Director, Candid

  • Lisa Pearce says:

    April 15, 2020 3:39 pm

    Our organization has earned the 2020 Seal of Transparency. How do we get the artwork?? I'd appreciate any help or guidance as we usually have one emailed to us.
    Thank you!