Perla Ni of Great Nonprofits on their approach to bringing donors, volunteers, and nonprofits together: Not managerial metrics and cold-blooded evaluation, but stories told by those whose lives have been touched.
W've gotten a couple of questions from people who have asked me how GreatNonprofits evaluates charities. My answer is that we don't. We are a website that enables people - volunteers, clients, peers - who know specific nonprofits to share their experience about those nonprofits. Much like Amazon book reviews or any other consumer reviews site (Epnions, Zagats, TripAdvisor, Yelp, etc.) You'll see on our site stories of people who have volunteered for nonprofits and stories of people who have received services.
We know how much the help of a nonprofit can mean and also how difficult it is for nonprofits to show that their social impact. I've known nonprofits personally as a client of their services. My parents were poor and we lived five blocks from the train tracks in public housing and countless nonprofits helped us. If you look at photos of me when I was a kid, practically everything I wore came second hand from nonprofits. My cavities got filled for free at a nonprofit community dental clinic.
And that’s why I'm so personally passionate about GreatNonprofits. It is a tool for sharing the stories and reviews of people -- people like me, the victims of Katrina, and hundreds of thousands of others -- who have seen the impact of nonprofits up close, and can speak personally and firsthand about it.
Here, for example, is a review of Heritance, a kind of "museum without borders," headed up by Maureen Doyle, helping small museums survive and thrive. Note below the review, the many passionate comments by museum people around the world testifying to what Heritance has meant to them. Doesn't this weigh with you? More than a chart of numbers would? It does with me.