GuideStar, a public charity that provides unbiased information about nonprofits, is one of the nation's most visible advocates for advancing nonprofit transparency.
GuideStar posts a copy of Form 990 for every 501(c)(3) organization that files with the IRS on their website, and offers this information at no charge to the public and the nonprofit community -- this also satisfies an organization's public disclosure requirement.
Increasingly, transparency is evolving from just required governance reporting and compliance to include qualitative and quantitative results that donors consider when making funding decisions.
In June 2013, GuideStar announced the overhaul of their nonprofit transparency program GuideStar Exchange to enable donors to make better decisions and encourage charitable giving.
The program now offers three levels of transparency:
Bronze - basic information
Silver - basic and financial information
Gold - basic and financial information - plus impact and effectiveness information
This program was developed in response to the desire expressed by donors, funders and other supporters for impact and effectiveness information about nonprofits.
Many nonprofit organizations can easily reach the GuideStar Exchange Silver Participant level, as a result of providing information from the annual audit compliance and Form 990 reporting.
To reach the gold level, an organization will need to complete the Charting Impact Report. Charting Impact is a framework developed by BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Guidestar, and the Independent Sector to provide information to the public about an organization's effectiveness.
The framework rests upon a series of five questions that all organizations, regardless of size or mission, can use to communicate effectiveness:
- What are the organization's long term goals?
- What strategies is the organization using to achieve their goals?
- Identify internal resources and external strengths that demonstrate the organization's capacity and capability
- Identify qualitative and quantitative indicators that the organization uses to assess impacts.
- Share accomplishments and outcomes.
The Independent Sector hosts a comprehensive resource center on their website that provides support for completing the Charting Impact Report, including step by step advice, a glossary, webinars, an exhaustive array of evaluation and impact tools addressing each of the five questions, and sub-sector specific resources.
As a result of satisfying the Charting Impact Report and sharing information about Program impact, Guidestar believes nonprofit organizations will achieve increased public support, greater program impact and create efficiency within the sector.
If you'd like to learn more about Charting Impact Reports or need assistance with identifying your organization's goals, strategies, resources, accomplishments and outcomes, please contact Sarah Avery at SAvery@FriedmanLLP.com or contact your engagement partner.