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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

A Vote for Nonprofit Ratings

Have you ever donated to or volunteered with a nonprofit only to find little information about them online? We all want reassurance that our gut instinct is correct and that a nonprofit we have formed a connection with has been vetted by an external source. However, with over 1.6 million nonprofits registered with the IRS today, this can prove to be slightly difficult for donors and nonprofit evaluators. 

With the launch of our Encompass Rating System, Charity Navigator now rates over 160,000 nonprofits in some capacity. Yet, there are still many organizations potentially eligible for our traditional star rating that are not currently evaluated. I introduce to you: our vote system for unrated or Encompass rated nonprofits. Due to the high number of unrated nonprofits, our queue allows donors to “vote” to have a nonprofit rated thereby increasing donor engagement with unrated organizations and allowing our team to evaluate specific charities based on donor interest. Many unrated nonprofits have a community of supporters behind them waiting for an evaluation; we want to ensure those voices are heard. 

To vote to have a nonprofit organization evaluated on our website, we simply ask that you have a registered account. Then, you can either peruse our website for nonprofits that may interest you or look up a particular organization and cast your vote. By casting these ballots as a donor, you ensure that those nonprofits have a greater likelihood of moving out of our vote queue and into a star rating evaluation. This vote does not automatically guarantee that an organization will be star-rated, but it does advocate for a more rapid criteria vetting process on the nonprofit’s behalf. For an example of how this vote button appears on an organization’s page, please see below. 

I strongly believe in nonprofit evaluation for many reasons. It fosters innovation in the sector, facilitates relationships between donors and high performing organizations, and encourages data-driven decision making for nonprofits and funders. To all unrated nonprofits that have a Vote button in place, we encourage you to appeal to your supporters about the importance of an external evaluation or validation. To users, while voting in all local, state and federal elections is extremely important, we can also find pride in voting in smaller ways and supporting dedicated nonprofits while doing so.

Written by Magdalena Kurnyta, Program Analyst at Charity Navigator.

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