Okay, say you're one of most people who'd like to help people out, maybe with your time and money. Usually, we do that by finding an effective, trustworthy nonprofit organization.
Problem is that there's over a million of 'em in the US, and the news has alerted us that many don't get anything done, and some are outright scams.
You can get help finding good nonprofits from the services that rate nonprofits.
Traditionally, GuideStar and CharityNavigator have been really good at measuring the financial efficiency of nonprofits, since you want your contributions to get to the people who need help. Sure, your contribution needs to help pay for operations, like salaries. However, you want most of that money to go to the right place.
Recently, CharityNavigator starting measuring the accountability and transparency of nonprofits. That's stuff like how much they publish regarding where the money goes, and if they have a whistleblower policy. Also, the nonprofit can show it has a process to make salaries are in line with their peers.
Both GuideStar and CharityNavigator are working hard on ways to measure the actual effectiveness of nonprofits, which is hard to do, but you really need that to make sure your money gets the job done.
What helps you in the here and now is that GreatNonprofits.org has a whole lot of user reviews of nonprofits, around eighty thousand currently. They're like Yelp for nonprofits.That's from their clients, volunteers, etc. Sure, user reviews can be gamed, but they're already working on solving that.
So if you want to help out the whole nonprofit thing, I recommend:
- use their services, GuideStar.org, CharityNavigator.org, and GreatNonprofits.org
- add your own reviews to GreatNonprofits.org
- if you smell something bad, notify one or all of these services
In my case, I'm doing all of that, and also, contributing some real cash to help them out. As a nerd, my focus is mostly tech development, like software interfaces so they can share the data with other sites.
You can help out the people providing meaningful services, strengthening the whole nonprofit arena around the whole world. I really appreciate any way you can help.
Follow Craig Newmark on Twitter: www.twitter.com/craignewmark