I am sitting back and reading the commentary about Holden at GiveWell and I'm thinking to myself why? Why do these websites exist to tell donors what the best charity is to donate to? Do donors even use these websites?
I remember reading research a couple a months ago about how very few people actually donate online to charities. American Express and Indiana University released research stating that 65% of Americans gave to charity last year and out of that 65% only 1 out 10 regularly gives online. So, basically do the small percentage of donors who regularly donate online, actually use these websites?
There are all these standards of accountability that have been created for nonprofits, however which are these standards of the right one? Does Holden or the folks at Charity Navigator or GreatNonprofits really know what it is like to run a nonprofit organization? Here in San Diego we are having an issue with the Better Business Bureau because it is pushing its way into the nonprofit sector and thinks it knows how nonprofits should run, it has its wise giving standards that are sweeping across the United States. It is frustrating that all these different groups think they know the right way a nonprofit should run. I am more apt to follow the standards put out by the Independent Sector or the Nonprofit Congress which is made up of real nonprofit managers like myself who knows what it is like to actually run a nonprofit.
I've been running various nonprofits for the past 7 years all of them with budgets ranging from 500k to 1mil. And, sure, I know the multi-million dollar nonprofit have a department that can fill out all the paperwork requested by the BBB and pass all the standards set by Charity Navigator, GiveWell, ect, however lets not fail the small to mid-sized nonprofits that are working on the grassroots level. Don't just fail us because we don't fit into your accountability standards box. I can tell you my organization is more ethical than the multi-million dollar nonprofit down the street.
I see our work on the ground level, I know we help over 700 grieving families each year. I know what we need to do to pass all those standards, and sure we're not there yet. We are on our way, but my goodness, we are still raising money and a lot of it from people who believe in our mission and see our results. So, a note to all of you who run your wonderful donation sites that want to channel money to my nonprofit, just remember the research, and the fact that I along with many other nonprofit managers, don't have time to figure out what website I need to log on to today to make sure I meet your standards.