Charity ratings are highly unpredictable with highly appraised top ranking charities being overtaken by new charities that suddenly make their appearance in the horizon. Charity Water is a rather new but typical example of this. Innovativeness and the all-powerful Internet are causing charity ratings of brand new charities to skyrocket. A charity that could be relatively unknown today might get rated as the best the next day by the New York Times. And then the rating of that charity might shoot up from nowhere to the top of the chart within the matter of a single day.
Because the general public are swayed so much by the charity ratings the press and media give, a brand new charity can flourish very quickly with a flood of charitable giving being thrown its way. And of course when the media lose interest, then the charity rating can drop out of the sky overnight.
Directory listings of charity rating
With cynicism a bit on the higher side and eagle eyed guardians of charity practices ever on the lookout for malpractices, with huge amounts of money spent on managing or misuse of funds, directory listings of charity ratings are having a field day. It is rather strange that altruistic organizations, the purpose of which is to give others, themselves come under the scrutiny of guardians of ethics. Altruism is becoming a knotty issue!
Givespot.com, Guidestar.org etc. are institutions that give a detailed list of charity ratings. The list of Givespot.com is known as GiveSpot 100 list, which gives a list of charities that are rated as the top 100. Then there are other institutions like charitynavigator.org which has a charity check systems and also gives a list of the Top Ten charities so that searching for a charity becomes easy. The biggest US charity directory is Guidestar.org and it offers a wide range of charity information some of which is available for free while some of the data require payment. In USA Better Business Bureau is also a charity directory that provides a list of non-profit institutions as well as commercial enterprises.
So if you want to find the 100 top charities then there are so many charity rating guides out there and yet maybe charity ratings are actually about something else. What makes a charity stand above the rest often has nothing to do with its ratings at all. There are special ingredients that make any charity or non-charity organisation successful.
Charity Ratings and faith in the public
A 2005 YouGov poll published that the majority of the British population – 56% – had only a ‘fair amount’ of trust in the global charities like Save the Children and Oxfam . Only 15% of the charities surveyed had ‘a great deal’ of trust – even in the ones that do well in charity ratings.
Charity Watchdog Scares are more common
People do not have faith in charities any more. They cannot be blamed for this state of affairs. Eagle eyed critics of charities complain about mismanagement in the field with high salaries for the staff and about 60% donations being spent on overheads for running the venture, leaving little for actual charity giving.
Recent analyses reveal that just the cost of raising funds could amount to about 18% in UK and 20% in Australia. The studies of the Association of Fundraising Professionals in USA put the amount to be about 30%. Administrative expenses are in addition to this and could be higher. Many charity givers find that this is the main problem, more so when charity giving grabs media attention as was the case in Singapore a couple of years ago. Such unwelcome focus becomes conducive to a decrease in charity giving which is quite unpleasant.
Charity ratings secret exposed
There is practically no difference between a charity and a commercial enterprise when it comes to the question of drawing money. They way they put the money to use might be different, but the techniques they use to get that money are more or less the same.
To increase the charity rating as well as attract better flow of funds the secret can be found in a single word – attraction.
When we look at something and consider buying it, investing in it or connecting with it, we make an instant decision based on how attractive it is to us. If the level of attraction is high, we are highly interested and take action quickly and of course if low, we take our time or decide no.
Charity Water is highly attractive and hence why it’s charity-rating sky rocked so quickly and the media got behind the idea. The simple idea of selling a bottle of charity water for a premium price with the extra profit been giving as a donation to the needy to access clean water was highly attractive.
The elements making up the attractiveness for Charity Water and boosting it’s ratings are quite obvious.
* They have the perfect name – Charity Water that makes people easily respond to the obvious passion of the founder to the idea, and his eagerness to share it with others.
* They had a simple, single and clear message and mission – sell water give water – Buy One Give One
* They gave importance to the solution and not to the problem. This is an assured way for any charity to get a good charity rating in the public’s eye. People by and large have no interest in being reminded of the miseries of life. They prefer to feel elated. So in this case when they know that their act, that of buying a bottle of water, can affect the lives of others positively, they are glad.
How to reduce you Charity Ratings in a heart beat
The fastest way for a charity to lose its rating is by making itself less appealing by concentrating on the problem. People are hardly inclined to listen about all that negativity going on in the world. On the other hand, most people are ready to listen to sagas of vigour, eagerness, drive and dedication to fashion a better world.
All we have to do is see ourselves with our own kids and understand how we easily answer in the affirmative when they request for things in an eager and happy and excited way. But when they prefer to make their demands in a peevish or weepy way, we may tend to refuse.
The picture a charity projects would strongly affect its ratings. By projecting an arousing and motivating picture of itself it will be able to influence people well. Then people will be ready to give more in response.
Social Enterprises improve Charity Ratings and solve the problems in Getting Funds
A new business model emerged a few years ago called Social Enterprise . This in a way is a hybrid mix between a charity and a business. Some entrepreneurs want to tackle social issues but they do not find the charity model effective or attractive enough.
The medium of a conventional business enterprise may not be suitable for many businessmen whose ideas of ethics and integrity would be contrary to the way decisions are made in a commercial world. Such people use a social enterprise to use their acumen and ability to create a profit and effect great changes in the social arena. A typical example of such a social entrepreneur is Muhammad Yunus who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his rich contributions to improving social conditions.
A new global social enterprise, Buy1GIVE1 commonly known as B1G1 (Buy 1 Give 1), partners businesses with worthy cause and charity organisations right around the world. Buy1GIVE1 cuts traditional fundraising and administrative costs down to nothing: promising to give 100% of all funds received. Similar to successful online entities like Kiva.org , recently endorsed by Bill Clinton; Buy1GIVE1 is an alternative to the traditional way of direct giving to charities. Many find them a more efficient way to make contributions while gaining significant value in return.
Successful businessmen, who are searching for a chance to give back richly to the society and to provide for deserving charities, fully understand the importance and properly structured working credos of institutions like Buy1GIVE1. Every single sale is able to affect a change somewhere – not only altruistically. It has also the ability to forcefully influence things in such a way that each act becomes a unique marketing story. There is a world of difference in the way in which Buy1Give1 works and those charities which give away thousands and thousands of dollars work, because Buy1Give1 lets their customers know what the joy o f giving is. Buy1Give1 transaction-based giving is a perfectly beautiful way of giving.
All ventures like Buy1GIVE1 particularize charities and these are mostly charities where help is considered to be fully necessary, with enough potential to attract contributions. Businessmen obviously understand how poignant situations attract customer interest and as such they tend to support such causes rather than give importance to the organisation’s rating. They are only too conscious of the customers’ proclivity to bond better with a stronger story than worry about charity rating.
Maple Muesli in Australia has partnered with Midday Meals in Mumbai, India. With every bag of muesli bought, a hungry child in India is fed. Midday Meals is a charity that feeds 125,000 Mumbai children every day for just US 30 cents per meal. The meals are provided in schools to keep kids off the streets and encourage learning while reducing begging and child abuse.
Maple Muesli has helped to put Midday Meals on the map as a worthy and well-rated cause in Australia. Maple Muesli share their giving story with all their customers increasing the natural rating of this amazing organisation in Mumbai without Midday Meals doing anything other than feed children. Effective Giving – The Era for Plain Charity Donations is ending
A change is impending in the setting of the top 100 charities and would become visible in a few years as more novel and productive ways of charitable giving take shape. Nowadays only limited choices exist for making donations for charitable purposes. All the existing ones are not good enough to create enough difference.
Other methods of Charity Ratings
Newer and varied ways of gifting things to others are rated and featured in the table given below. These are Charity Comparison Data.
We have compared and rated a few well-known and less well-known charities and Social Enterprises on areas that are important to their donors.
THE SALVATION ARMY
ROUTE TO GIVING: DIRECT GIVING
The Salvation Army is one among the most well-known 100 charities of the world – Both individuals and enterprises make contributions directly to it.
OPENNESS – B – Not sufficiently open – Plenty of money is being collected – but the results are not always completely clear.
MARKETING VALUE TO BUSINESS – C – Businesses’ one-off contributions to Salvation Army may be mentioned in the press.
FUNDRAISING COSTS – B – Spends millions of dollars annually to raise funds.
CONTRIBUTORS’CHOICE OF CHARITY – B – For direct giving, you can have a lot of charities to check out before settling which one is best.
ABILITY FOR EFFECTING A CHANGE -C – Nothing specific in the activities that is likely to bring about a change.
PATH TO GIVING : MARKETING CAMPAIGN
Product (RED) is a brand licensed to collaborate with companies, and collect money for their Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis in Africa
OPENNESS – B – Not sufficiently open – Plenty of money is being collected – but the results are not always completely clear.
ADVANTAGE TO BUSINESS – A – People and enterprises by and large prefer to support it as it is promoted by popular idols like Bono and Oprah. End result of marketing is not correctly available.
COSTS OF FUNDRAISING – C -Simply splurges money on advertising – it would be far better if that money is sent directly to Africa.
DONORS’ CHOICE POTENTIALS – C – Enterprises that partner with them have limited options in where their money should go – all needs are in Africa.
ABILITY FOR EFFECTING A CHANGE – B – All those who collaborate with Products (RED) are big enterprises and all the income is spent on Africa.
THE BODY SHOP
WAY TO GIVING: BUSINESS TRADE & GIVING
The Body Shop is involved in community trade to help economically backward countries and makes large donations to causes from the profit they generate.
TRANSPARENCY – B – Lack of transparency – sum of money is contributed for every purchase – but result is not fully measurable.
MARKETING VALUE TO BUSINESS – A-tve – Customers are happy to be involved in community trade and are motivated to buy more. Visibility could be a lot better.
FUNDRAISING COSTS – A – Lower costs – Successful business model that makes donations and boosts community trade.
CONTRIBUTORS’CHOICE OF CHARITY – A – Businesses can choose where their money goes.
POTENTIAL FOR REAL GLOBAL CHANGE – B – Businesses’ giving back is great – but very few take the added effort to push for change like Body Shop.
ROUTE TO GIVING: EVENT FUNDRAISING
Live Earth was a series of worldwide concerts held on 7 July 2007 that initiated a three-year campaign to combat climate change.
CANDOUR – F – As per the reports of the site Intelligent Giving, satisfactory accounts were not produced on the proceeds from the sales of tickets.
ADVANTAGE TO BUSINESS – B – The sponsors of the business benefitted by the good press coverage, though by being a single occurrence results were not properly assessable.
COSTS OF FUNDRAISING – C – Huge amounts were spent on advertising and according to some the whole event was a damp squib without any actual goals.
DONOR’S CHOICE OF CHARITY – C – Only three charities could manage to get funds.
PROMISE FOR GLOBAL CHANGE – C – Such events can be held just once or at the most once a year. The amount collected generally goes to better known charities.
Buy1GIVE1 (B1G1 )
PATH TO GIVING : SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
B1G1 is a brand licensed to any business – partnering them with any charity anywhere in the world. A truly global concept.
CANDOUR – A – By giving for particular causes, makes sure that funds go exactly for that which it is intended. Customers get information on how exactly their money has made a change – i.e. the children whom it helped, or the environmental cause it protected.
BENEFIT FOR THE BUSINESS – A+tve – Superb marketing value as a result of:
* Calculable giving * Media interest * Effective stories * Person to person * Returning customers
EXPENSES FOR RAISING FUNDS – A+tve – No cost at all – B1G1 can look after a charity’s fundraising requirements which will include a good percentage of management also. All the funds that have accrued go to the cause.
DONOR’S CHOICE OF CHARITY – A – Any donor can contribute to a specific charity, or they can insist on giving to specific causes such as food, environment, or instruction.
PROMISE FOR GLOBAL CHANGE – A – Unlimited. If more and more businesses can collaborate with charities internationally, the prospects for real change is colossal.
You Would Think Giving away Money Would Be Easy!”
Donating money may not seem to be a difficult job – it is just a question of handing over some money as cheque, cash or via the credit card. Still, someone like George Sores, who is as generous a donor as could be, agrees that effectual giving is no cakewalk. Underprivileged communities and countries receive millions of dollars in aid and still the situation remains much the same year after year.
People asking smarter questions will bring about the needed change. Social Entrepreneurs like Mohamed Yunis, Nobel Prize winner, creating innovative solutions to poverty and environmental issues with Micro Finance are carving the way to a new future where business initiatives, social enterprise and conscious consumerism transform our world. Initiatives like The Body Shop’s ‘Trade – Not Aid’ need to be replicated. New ideas like Buy1GIVE1 need to be embraced. The value of social enterprise needs to be recognised.
Bill Gates, when asked how one can make a difference in the world, pointed to the Internet. Kiva.org and Buy1GIVE1 (www.b1g1.com) are organisations that add value to the giver. With Kiva.org, people can receive email journal updates from the business they have sponsored. This happens with Buy1GIVE1 as well. Businesses also get the added benefit of marketing stories to tell their customers: buy a laptop with us, and we give one computer to someone who cannot afford it.
Next steps to increasing your Charity Ratings
Adopt a questioning mind, hop onto a wired laptop, and with a few hours to spare look at some of the new and amazing giving systems that are being created. Most of these new systems are network based and driven from the Internet.
The present situation is that if a venture is not allied online with global networks of good standing, it stands to lose quite a lot whatever its charity rating is, by tomorrow things are likely to change — completely.
There are more and more examples these days of companies rising up from nothing and being sold three years later for over a billion dollars. This was unheard of ten years ago. Today this is becoming a regular occurrence. All these new Internet companies are doing one thing – tapping into global networks or creating global networks.
Buy1GIVE1 (Buy One Give One)
Buy1GIVE1 is a relatively new Social Enterprise founded by a Japanese lady called Masami Sato in 1997. Today any business anywhere in the world can be a Buy1GIVE1 member, with membership for small businesses only costing $1 per day and contributions starting from just 1c per sale. Buy1GIVE1 is leading the Buy One Give One transaction-based giving global movement. Working with Buy1GIVE1 is easy for a charity worthy cause or a business. Their model is unique, flexible and inspiring. A business simply marries any or all of its products or services with a charity project (Buy1GIVE1’s or their own) and then every time they sell something record the sale and pay their contribution each month or quarter direct to their cause or through Buy1GIVE1.
You are strongly advised to create lasting bonds with Buy1GIVE1 and also motivate your business associates to join Buy1GIVE1. It is a singular and wonderful organisation doing stupendous work and no one can afford to ignore it.
A new epoch in charity giving
Institutions that no one had heard about even a few months ago, are today bombarding the cyber world with booming user acceptance. People strongly prefer have a place on sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, NING or TipJoy. One should also create strong bonds with companies like Buy1GIVE1, Kiva or The Present. These are the realities of the future which are imperative for sustaining and building charity ratings. Now is the chance to fashion an ideal new future.