Over the course of the last month, I’ve seen several requests floating around online from groups looking for the best charities to support as part of their holiday giving/fundraising/service drives. Most end up going based on personal recommendations or finding something that supports a cause in which they are interested. After all, the holiday season only lasts so long, and figuring out which programs and organizations are the best ones to support can be a daunting task.
Last week, The Wall Street Journal published an article highlighting again how difficult it can be. This story focused on how charity rankings can sometimes tell less than the full story. It illustrates a couple of challenges within certain popular charity ranking systems and the daunting task faced by donors giving a “relatively modest amount” in thoroughly evaluating charities.
“Fully investigating a charity is, for many donors, ‘not worth the due diligence it would take,'” said the article’s author, Carl Bialik.
Services that evaluate nonprofit organizations based on various, quantifiable data, including financial data, board conduct, and donor data management can help guide decision making, but may miss some critical components.
One missing link Mr. Bailik highlights in the article is the evaluation of effectiveness and “success in achieving its mission.” Unfortunately, it is difficult to quantify, measure or assign a standard ranking to – and yet is at the very core of what makes organizations impactful.
We realize trying to tackle the entire realm of nonprofits is nearly impossible. We keep a listing of organizations and projects in which we have trust on our website (you can view it here) and are continually evaluating for clients, donors and foundations.
It is a lot of work, but we feel that all of the qualitative tools out there, along some vetting of an organization’s efforts and effectiveness are critical to making every sure that every dollar counts.
Happy holidays, and may you reach out and touch the life of someone in need this week.
(The entire article, Charity Ranking Giveth Less Than Meets the Eye, is accessible here).