Rating the Charity Raters

At the 2013 GMN Conference, our closing plenary session was a debate about charity ratings and whether they are ultimately helpful or hurtful to nonprofit mission work. Now the blog Blue Avocado has rated the raters, extending questions about the process to those who run it.

Wouldn’t it be great if there were an objective rating system so that donors could choose the best nonprofits to donate to just as investors use rating agencies to pick the best companies to invest in? Don’t answer; it’s a rhetorical question. Here’s what you need to know about some of the best-known charity rating organizations:

In this Part I of a two-part article, we take a fast look at six charity raters — Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, Better Business Bureau, GuideStar, Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) and Great Nonprofits — and who they rate and the criteria they use to rate them. In Part II in our next issue, we’ll cover what you should do to manage your nonprofit’s ratings, and what we should do collectively as the nonprofit community.

Read the full blog post »

Weigh in with your thoughts, especially if you were at the closing plenary session featuring Ken Berger, president and CEO of Charity Navigator, and William Schambra of the Hudson Institute’s Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal.

Nikki Powell

Nikki Powell is PEAK Grantmaking's communications and practices director. You can find her on Twitter @nikkiwpowell.