State Policy Network
GuideStar & Foundation Fundraising: A Checklist for Improving Your Organization’s GuideStar Seal

Why GuideStar Seals Matter for Your Nonprofit

GuideStar is a popular resource among donors and foundations as they consider their philanthropic investments. Foundations use GuideStar in two primary ways: to verify and research potential grantees and to obtain, compare, and analyze important information about organizations.

When foundations use GuideStar to gather information about potential grantees, they may look for a range of details, including mission statements, leadership information, finances, and past successes. And they look at an organization’s GuideStar Seal.

What are GuideStar Seals?

GuideStar uses a system of four Seals—bronze, silver, gold, and platinum—to indicate a level of transparency and completeness of an organization’s GuideStar profile. As they scale up, the Seals require increasing amounts of information about an organization and its goals and effectiveness. Statistics show there is a correlation between GuideStar seals and funding:

Benefits of GuideStar Seals

No matter which level your organization is ready for, there are benefits for earning a GuideStar seal and working to boost your organization’s ranking.

Bronze Seal: Enhances funders’ search results within GuideStar regarding your organization. Nonprofits that have a GuideStar seal on their profile rank higher in search engine results.

Silver Seal: Enhances credibility by sharing financials. When financial information is added to your GuideStar profile, it provides a level of transparency for foundations to view the stewardship of past funding.

Gold Seal: Showcases your wins and programs. Highlighting all the amazing things your organization has accomplished shows that your organization has the ability to execute your mission and is a good investment for foundations.

Platinum Seal: Shares measurable results of your organization’s efforts. Sharing metrics and measures of success on GuideStar provides concrete, quantitative evidence of what your organization is capable of accomplishing.

Get started: GuideStar Requirements Checklist

The good news for nonprofit organizations is that it is relatively easy to acquire a GuideStar Seal. Simply set aside 15-30 minutes, and make sure the information you add to your organization’s profile is from the last two fiscal years.

To get started, download a copy of SPN’s GuideStar Requirements Checklist designed specifically for nonprofit think tanks wanting to earn or improve their GuideStar Seal of Transparency.

On smaller browser sizes, the PDF will open in a new tab after clicking “View PDF” for more intuitive interactions with the file.

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Additional GuideStar Resources

Organization: State Policy Network