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5 Tips for Choosing A Nonprofit to Give December 11, 2009

Posted by Connie Chow in Executive Director Musings, General.
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From the Stanford Social Innovation Review : Opinion Blog

1. Don’t look at overhead ratios

Overhead ratios … actually encourage charities to make decisions that make them less effective.

2. Look for opinions and information about the charity from the people who have had direct experience with it

3. Look for expert opinions on the charity.

4. Look for direct evidence of impact

5. See It For Yourself
Do a donor tour or sign up to volunteer and experience for yourself what the nonprofit does.

I am pleased to see that individual donors are getting more sophisticated, and realize that low overhead is not necessarily a good measure of effectiveness.  Philanthropedia and GiveWell (#3 & 4) are well meaning, and on the forefront of the trend to use more complex measures of effectiveness in their ratings. However, only a small number of large and well-known nonprofits have been reviewed.

GreatNonprofits.org (#2) has the potential to engage the public (like you) to review the organizations with which they have direct experience, and provides a framework that is more than just anecdotal.

Since we ARE small, we invite those of you familiar with our organization to spare 10 minutes and write a review for us at GreatNonprofits.org. Our target is to have 20 reviews by the end of the year! If not, please heed #5 and pay us a visit or join us as a volunteer!

Happy giving!

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