Redwood City, Calif.—GreatNonprofits, the largest nonprofit review site (think Yelp for nonprofits), lets people quickly find charities doing the most good, helping them donate wisely in this season of giving. Donors can find worthy nonprofit organizations based onnearly 200,000 real-life stories of impact, written by volunteers, donors, and beneficiaries.
For years, people were urged to look at overhead ratios to guide their choice of charity. But such information reveals nothing about a charity's impact on the people it serves. Socially sourced reviews provide a better way to evaluate nonprofits by displaying on-the-ground feedback.
"GreatNonprofits provides the best way to understand the work of nonprofit organizations—through users' eyes, not simple numerical ratios," said Bruce Sievers, visiting scholar and lecturer at Stanford University's Haas Center for Public Service.
Meanwhile, trust in online reviews is skyrocketing. A recent Local Consumer Review Study shows that 79 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
"We include stakeholder reviews on GuideStar nonprofit reports very purposefully," stated Jacob Harold, president and CEO of GuideStar, the leading source of nonprofit information. "The stakeholders of an organization are a terrific barometer of its performance, and one of the several pieces of information that we encourage people to consider when evaluating charities. Research tells us that donors want meaningful information about results, and now that we're changing the dialogue around theOverhead Myth, people want to know how to assess charities."
The reviews on GreatNonprofits span 32 issues, including animals, education,women's issues, health, art, and more. They often come in the form of personal stories of impact, such as these from two 2013 Top-Rated Nonprofits:
"GreatNonprofits inspired me to donate to another nonprofit. ... It was the holiday season, and I wasn't sure about any particular nonprofit to donate to," said Christina Ude, Founder of Reading Hamlets in Queens, N.Y. "When we are exhausted, frustrated, and ready to give up, reading our reviews inspires us," said Elyse Nardick at the Foundation for Children with Microcephaly in Phoenix, Ariz.
In the nearly seven years since its inception, GreatNonprofits' online reviews have grown dramatically. In 2013 alone, the number of reviews grew 87 percent year over year (October to October). Donors and volunteers can find charities that are making a difference for their communities with more than 5,500 city and issue pages.
Lindsay J.K. Nichols
GuideStar USA, Inc.
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