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Like it or not, what other people think about your organization matters. While you can’t prevent negative reviews, especially in this day and age of social media and online review sites, you can take control of your brand’s online rep. Here’s where to start.
And, of course, not all the information people find online about your nonprofit comes from you and your reviewers. A number of online services rank and rate nonprofit organizations based on factors like financial health, use of resources, transparency and constituent feedback. Here are three of the biggest.
The Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance rates around 1,300 national nonprofits. Local BBBs also review about 10,000 nonprofits. They use a range of standards to grade nonprofits. You can strengthen your rating by building your board of directors and have it meet more than three times a year, paying attention to the balance between your management costs and program expenses, staying transparent in fundraising materials and providing options for donors who wish to remain anonymous.
Charity Navigator analyzes the finances, apparent effectiveness and transparency of approximately 6,000 of the United States’ largest charities with revenues of more than $1 million, and assigns 0–4 star ratings. If you’re a new nonprofit, you’re unlikely to be included on this site, but it might be helpful to understand how nonprofits are assessed. On the homepage of Charity Navigator’s website, you can find information about how it analyzes nonprofits.
GuideStar offers valuable nonprofit information and is particularly valuable for posting three years of nonprofits’ most recent 990 tax forms. You can strengthen your presence on GuideStar by writing the profile of your organization and making certain that your most recent 990 forms are posted. The IRS provides the 990 forms to GuideStar directly, and occasionally there’s a delay.