Palo Alto, Calif.—A recent Harris Interactive poll shows that the percentage of people who say they are not making charitable donations has doubled to 12%. This could prove challenging for charities this holiday giving season, because while donors continue to cut back on both how much and to whom they give, the need for donations continues to increase. But financial donations are just one way that individuals can contribute to causes they believe in.
In the spirit of giving back, the popular consumer review site for nonprofits, GreatNonprofits, in partnership with the leading source of nonprofit information, GuideStar, created the "Donate a Review Campaign" to encourage donors, volunteers, and other stakeholders of nonprofits to "think outside the wallet" this holiday season by writing a review to help a charity they support. All reviews will be visible to potential donors and volunteers who visit GreatNonprofits or GuideStar to research charities.
New research conducted by GreatNonprofits shows that stakeholder reviews, written by donors, volunteers, clients and board members, help nonprofits in several ways:
- Visibility: Reviews raise awareness about a nonprofit's work and impact.
- Credibility: A GreatNonprofits badge including star-ratings can be imbedded on a nonprofit's website.
- Fundraising: Including reviews in fundraising materials helps raise funds and attract new donors.
- Volunteers: Reviews help recruit new volunteers.
- Programs: Stakeholder feedback provides valuable insight to improve programs.
- Staff morale: Organizations report a boost in staff morale as a result of receiving positive reviews.
According to a Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey of more than 25,000 Internet consumers from 50 countries, consumer recommendation sites such as Yelp, Amazon, TripAdvisor, and Zagats now influence 60% of online buying decisions.
Says Perla Ni, CEO of GreatNonprofits, "Donors are more concerned than ever before with the impact of their gift. Since most people can only afford to give modestly, the opportunity to share their story with others allows anyone involved with a charity to amplify the effect of their giving in a powerful way."
"Reviews can be as simple as a few sentences,” adds Ni. “It’s not the length of the review or even how much time it takes to put it together; what matters is that it comes from a place of caring."
Reviews like the one written by GreatNonprofits user RobChi1 about WeSPARK Cancer, compellingly illustrate the power of even a few short words. "When the cancer returned after 10 years, I was so very fortunate to find [WeSPARK]. They are the organization one dreams about, for help, guidance and support. The counselors, teachers, therpist [sic] and especially the staff do an outstanding job. You feel the LOVE when you walk through the door."
People can help out their favorite nonprofits by writing reviews of charities, much as they do for restaurants on Yelp or hotels on TripAdvisor, to help others find worthy charities to get involved with. Reviews can be written, and will appear online at both GreatNonprofits.org and GuideStar.org.
GreatNonprofits is the leading developer of tools that allow people to find, review, and share information about great—and perhaps not yet great—nonprofits. In this era of social media, millions of people already have discovered that a review by someone who has gone to a restaurant or tried out a doctor is a useful way to evaluate the suitability of those services for themselves. Similarly, if a person has direct experience with a charitable organization, GreatNonprofits makes it easier for him or her to share that knowledge so that other people can discover that group as well.
Like at Amazon or at consumer review sites like Epinions, Zagats, or TripAdvisor, the reviews and ratings are posted by people who have been touched by a nonprofit and want to share their story about it. Therefore, on our site you'll discover stories of people who have volunteered or donated to nonprofits, as well as stories of people who have benefited from their services.
Since its founding in 2007, GreatNonprofits has quickly grown into the leading provider of reviews and ratings of nonprofit organizations throughout the U.S.
GuideStar, www.guidestar.org, connects people and organizations with information on the programs and finances of more than 1.8 million IRS-recognized nonprofits. GuideStar serves a wide audience inside and outside the nonprofit sector, including individual donors, nonprofit leaders, grantmakers, government officials, academic researchers, and the media.
Lindsay J.K. Nichols