Transparency Point System

How we evaluate transparency

Transparency is dynamic and evolving, and the weight given to various indicators of transparency is subjective. Our points system is designed to encourage and empower—not penalize—CSOs.
We evaluate our clients’ sites using a rigorous process based on the highest domestic (or local) transparency laws and universal best practices. As such, we use two evaluations:

Country level transparency points and ranking

1. At the country level, we assign and count transparency points according to CSO’s lived experience with government compliance. This shows a CSO’s alignment with transparency laws as they are currently applied by the government. It is thus a ranking that takes into account country context in practice. The points of each item can change depending on governments’ interpretation. This, in turn, would change the points we assign to that item.

  • In addition to seeing your points, you’ll always see the percentage of points obtained. This determines your status: 0-69% = in progress, 70-89% = good, 90-100%= excellent.
  • If a government issues additional requirements, we update the number of points and the percentage and notify you of the changes you need to make to obtain the new points.

Global level transparency points and ranking

2. At the global level, we count a CSO’s points by considering these official points as well as items we believe to be universally important for transparency and fundability. We combine these points as follows:

  • For each country requirement, we assign 1-5 points from least to most important. Sometimes the number we assign matches a government’s points, sometimes it does not. For example, the Brazilian government has assigned publication of bylaws a ‘1’, but we assign it a ‘3.’ Or perhaps there is a situation where something is required of a CSO that we do not believe is necessary for transparency; we would not assign points to this item.
  • We also assign 1-5 points for each item we deem important that is not included in country requirements. For example, there are items under ‘security and privacy’ that we include in our global evaluation that the Brazilian government does not. We also add items as they become best practices or important to fundability. This gives us flexibility in developing a universal approach to transparency.
  • Since we aim for constant improvement and synergy, we may add items to our global points that we’ve learned about from country requirements.
  • In addition to seeing your global points, you’ll always see the percentage of points you’ve obtained. This is the basis of your ranking: 0-69% = in progress, 70-89% = good, 90-100%= excellent.


Stamp of transparency points and ranking

When a CSO becomes a client and publishes their website, they receive a stamp showing their transparency is ‘in progress.’
As they meet more transparency requirements, their points are recalculated and, when they hit the points thresholds of ‘good’ and ‘excellent,’ their stamp is automatically updated to reflect their new status.
Our Stamp is embedded on their site’s footer, and it links to CiSo’s site, where their ranking and profile is maintained on our ‘Cases’ page. 

Ranking based on percentage of points

In progress

Example of Stamp and Ranking

Transparency points - Brazil
56% | In progress
56% | In progress
56/100 points
Transparency points - CiSoRise
90% | Excellent
90% | Excellent
117/130 points

Country-specific methodology: Example of Brazil

Brazilian CSOs must comply with the Public Ministry that recognizes Civil Society Organizations of Public Interest (OSCIP) and the Public Prosecutors’ Offices of several Brazilian States, including the metrics required by OSCIP to receive public money. The evaluation incorporates 43 detailed metrics in 13 categories, comprising individual and contextualized questions that determine:

  1. The functionality of the website, including:
    • Content/visual accessibility
    • Data protection and privacy laws 
    • Interactivity and efficiency
    • Cybersecurity
    • Domain name
  2. The completeness of the compliance, including:
    • Official CSO registration
    • Communication of organizational structure, location and activities
    • Confirmation that required tax documents and financial reports—including records of revenue, expenditures, public contracts and partnerships—are uploaded and publicly available in a format for viewing and downloading

Note: the credibility of the information provided by a CSO’s website comprises more than 60% of its success in raising funds from all sources and establishes trust between a CSO and its stakeholders. While we can evaluate online transparency, we cannot evaluate the accuracy of the content provided by a CSO, which can affect a CSO’s ability to establish credibility.