Archive for the ‘Corporate giving’ Category

Is Your Giving Doing More?

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

Over the course of the last month, I’ve seen several requests floating around online from groups looking for the best charities to support as part of their holiday giving/fundraising/service drives. Most end up going based on personal recommendations or finding something that supports a cause in which they are interested. After all, the holiday season only lasts so long, and figuring out which programs and organizations are the best ones to support can be a daunting task.

 Last week, The Wall Street Journal published an article highlighting again how difficult it can be. This story focused on how charity rankings can sometimes tell less than the full story. It illustrates a couple of challenges within certain popular charity ranking systems and the daunting task faced by donors giving a “relatively modest amount” in thoroughly evaluating charities.

 ”Fully investigating a charity is, for many donors, ‘not worth the due diligence it would take,’” said the article’s author, Carl Bialik.

Services that evaluate nonprofit organizations based on various, quantifiable data, including financial data, board conduct, and donor data management can help guide decision making, but may miss some critical components.

 One missing link Mr. Bailik highlights in the article is the evaluation of effectiveness and “success in achieving its mission.” Unfortunately, it is difficult to quantify, measure or assign a standard ranking to – and yet is at the very core of what makes organizations impactful.

  We realize trying to tackle the entire realm of nonprofits is nearly impossible. We keep a listing of organizations and projects in which we have trust on our website (you can view it here) and are continually evaluating for clients, donors and foundations.

It is a lot of work, but we feel that all of the qualitative tools out there, along some vetting of an organization’s efforts and effectiveness are critical to making every sure that every dollar counts.

Happy holidays, and may you reach out and touch the life of someone in need this week.

(The entire article, Charity Ranking Giveth Less Than Meets the Eye, is accessible here).

Nonprofits and the Economy

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

For the few months I have been attending courses that constitute the University of Utah’s Non Profit Leadership Academy certification. The program has served to remind me of two very important characteristics of not-for-profit efforts:

First, it is not easy to do it right. While the creation of a charitable organization is not difficult, doing it “exactly right,” is. There are a great many steps and rules to follow and rightly so, particularly with a public entity. Every charitable organization should be committed to understanding the rules charities must follow and then guarding its compliance in every way.

Second, I am reminded that there are a lot of good people in the world who want very much to make a difference. Their passions range from recycling to the arts with a seemingly endless menu of need.

It all serves to reinforce why we are working so hard at Operation Kids. There is a need for organizations who “do it right;” who pay attention to every possible detail and encourage, through support, other charities who do the same. There is also a need to sort through the many efforts. A recent course discussion focused on the state of the current economy and its immediate impact on giving.

Our observation is that charities need to take the current economy as a cue to refine their message, their operations and present programs that address a true need and offer an effective solution.

If they can do that, there are generous people who can and will give. Perhaps the economic downturn will cause donors to ask an additional question or two of a solicitation, and that is not a bad thing. We encourage that, in good times and bad. Donors deserve to know that they are supporting charities that make every effort to be compliant, effective, efficient and accountable.

Operation Kids was founded on these principles. Our commitment to accountability and efficiency is not economy-driven, but rather it is part of the DNA of our organization. We continue to encourage donors to remember that there is great need, and there are charities they can trust.

It is validating to hear that we’re on the right track. We will continue to evaluate, to partner and to advise – to ensure every dollar has maximum impact and serves the greatest need. Because now, more than ever, accountability counts.