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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Get your NGO certified for FREE by GuideStar India by March 27! Apply for GuideStar India NGO Transparency Awards!

GuideStar India invites you to participate in the GuideStar India NGO Transparency Awards 2016 to get recognised for demonstrating transparency of your organisation in the public domain. This is a one-time opportunity to get certified for free to receive GuideStar India’s Transparency Key/ Transparency Badge/ Gold or Platinum Seal certifying your organisation’s transparency, with validity till Dec 2016. There are more than 1600 awards to be won through a simple and transparent process. You get to know in advance through this mailer, the critieria for different levels, you choose one level that best suits you and we verify the information you share in an objective manner. There are no long reports to be written. Just a simple form that takes about 10 minutes to fill,  followed by updating your profile on along with upload of key documents. It is like appearing for an exam where you know the entire question paper in advance! All you need to do is respond correctly, diligently and swiftly! While March 24 is the last date, awards will be given away to the fastest qualifiers on first come first served basis! The first 35 winners have already been announced!

Why do we need awards for Transparency
We believe that while there are many awards to recognise NGOs for their programmes (for many of these awards, we are partners), there is a need to have awards that illuminate transparency and public accountability of several civil society organisations in order to collectively enhance credibility of the sector, inspire greater trust in their work and garner support for their cause from corporate, institutions and the general public. In order to reach and motivate newer donor audiences, volunteers and other types of supporters, NGOs need to embrace new tools and methods towards significantly expanding their circle of trust.

NGO registration with minimum information has enabled over 6000 NGOs to gain entry into to voluntarily demonstrate their transparency. Our NGO certification programme is a rigorous verification of in-depth information shared by NGOs in the public domain, creating a pool of pre-vetted organisations. GuideStar India NGO Transparency Awards combine the power of our registration and certification programmes to help you create your online “safe-deposit locker” of valuable information about your organisation which is “open” for public view, thus unlocking your potential to garner support.

Eligibility: you may please apply for these awards, only if:
a.     Your organisation has a currently valid registration as a Society/ Trust/ Sec 8 or Sec 25 company
b.     Your organisation has its IT PAN
c.      Your organisation has a 12A registration under the Income Tax Act
d.     Your organisation has filed its Income Tax Return (ITR) for F.Y. 2014-15.
-Please note that your organisation is eligible to apply even if your organisation does not have 80G, 35AC or FCRA. However, if you have these registrations, you need to provide details as explained in “Criteria and requirement of documents & information”.
-Organisations certified by GuideStar India in the past are also eligible to apply.


Criteria at a glance for different levels

Number of Prizes for the fastest qualifiers
Transparency Key
ITPAN, Registration certificate, 12A, ITR FY 2014-15 & Address Proof, minimum disclosures on GSI
e-Transparency Key
Transparency Badge
Criteria for Transparency Key +1 year old org, MoA/ Deed, 1 yr Audited accounts, 10B, 80G/35AC (only if org has these registrations), FC return (only if org has FCRA), medium level disclosures on GSI
e-Transparency Badge
Gold Seal
Criteria for Transparency Key & Badge + timely filing of IT Return, 2 yrs Audited Accounts, 2 years 10B, Annual Report (if prepared), no material qualifications in latest audit report, many disclosures incl. Board member details on GSI + undertaking for shortlisted orgs
e-Gold Seal, Certificate & Medal
Rs1,000 worth prizes for the first 50
Champion: (open only to the first 100 finalists)
Platinum Seal
All of the above + AR disclosure template, donor references
e-Platinum Seal, Certificate & Trophy
Rs10,000 worth prizes for 10 winners

1.     Read this mailer entirely, understand the criteria and decide the level for which you would like to apply. You may apply for ONLY ONE LEVEL. Each organisation can fill ONLY ONE FORM. In the event of multiple forms being submitted, the first form will be considered, irrespective of the level applied for and its completeness. You may directly apply for the desired level and do not have to start at Foundation level as you may apply for only one level for the awards. Participation in the awards is FREE.
2.     Apply for the awards in the online application form. You may download the blank form in MS Word, for your reference before you start filling the online application form.
3.     A. If your organisation is not yet registered on After filling the awards application form, immediately send a mail to attaching your Society/ Trust/ Section 25 or Sec 8 Company registration certificate. GuideStar India team will verify your details and if approved for GuideStar India registration, will email your login credentials for your online profile. Then you may proceed further with step 4 which needs to be completed within 2 working days of receiving the login credentials.
B. If your organisation has a GuideStar Number (GSN) at the time of applying for the awards:  Simply proceed to step 4. You need to complete step 4 within 2 working days of submitting the award application form.
4.     You need to login at and update information and upload documents. Refer to the detailed criteria and process one-pager applicable to the level you have chosen to apply:
In case you fill the form incorrectly, your application will be disqualified even if you update the required information on
5.     If your organisation is shortlisted for Intermediate/ Advanced levels or as a finalist for Champion level, you will be asked to provide in a short period, a signed undertaking, additional information and documents.
6.     Please read the terms and conditions governing the awards before you apply. Submission of the online form implies you have accepted the terms and conditions. 

Benefits of participating in GuideStar India NGO Transparency Awards
·      These awards are designed on the lines of applications for online grants and registration on giving portals. The process equips you to respond swiftly and meet requirements of online fundraising and volunteering portals.
·      As you complete the process of updating the required information and uploading the required documents on your profile at, your online profile gets richer, more organised and becomes available to those among the 3000 monthly visitors to our portal who may search for NGOs of their preferred cause/ location/ other criteria, for taking informed decisions about your organisation.
      If your organisation qualifies and wins any of the 1610 awards, you may use the Transaparency Key/ Badge/ Gold or Platinum Seal that is awarded to you right till Dec 2016.  You may use the e-certificate in your grant appeals/ proposals, on your website, mailers and other communication & marketing material.
      If your organisation qualifies and wins any of the 1610 awards, depending on the level, you would pre-qualify for participation in crowdfunding portals, online payment gateways, become eligible to apply for substantial scholarship to the Post Graduate Programme in Development Management of SPJIMR, etc. Organisations such as Dasra, Probono Unplugged, SmallChange and use GuideStar India Certification to determine eligibility to participate in their programmes. Our certified NGOs such as Freedom for You Foundation, Samerth Charitable Trust, Blue Cross of India and PANI have shared stories of how GuideStar India certification helped them to raise funds from institutional funders & corporate and was helpful to resolve registration issues with government departments.
      By storing and displaying your information on India’s most reliable repository on NGO information, you enhance your transparency, improve your online presence and the prospect of being found by numerous netizens seeking information on NGOs.
      An updated and more complete profile on would save time in responding to donors and in filing statutory returns.
      Winning organisations would get featured on GuideStar India’s list of awardees which would be shared with philanthropic intermediaries, donor institutions and government organisations.

Last Date:
While March 24 is the last date, awards will be given away to the fastest qualifiers on first come first served basis! For more details, visit:

Come, participate in this initiative to collectively enhance the credibility of NGOs in India. Begin the journey at the level that best suits you.

There are plenty of awards to be Won! So do share this post with your other NGO friends and network members!