Charity ratings are something so inconsistent that highly rated charities might easily find themselves outdone in rating by unknown ones that materialize out of nowhere. Charity Water is a representative though new sample of this. The power of the online medium and ingenuity are helping brand new charities to drive their ratings sky high. A charity that may not have any rating one day might be considered as one of the top of the chart charities by the New York Times the next day and their rating would then go through the roof in no time.
Because of the power the mass communication media have over the people, when a charity is in the good books of the media, it expands very quickly and manages to get a lot of charitable giving. By that same yardstick, when media do not have much interest in propping up a given charity, its rating also plummets in the same proportion.
Directory lists of charity rating
With steadily rising distrust and morality guardians of charity being ever suspicious of charity problems like transgression, having pretty large amounts of money spent on the running of charities or mishandling of funds, listings of charity ratings are booming. It is real quaint that humanitarian institutions that are meant for giving others are under the watchful eye of charity watchdogs. The whole idea of benevolence is getting a bit problematical!
Organisations like Givespot.com and Guidestar.org list detailed charity ratings. Givespot.com has a detailed list called the GiveSpot 100 list, which shows its top 100 rated charities. Other organisations like charitynavigator.org have charity check systems as well as a charity Top Ten list so that look up a charity is easy. Guidestar.org is probably the biggest US charity directory offering an amazing array of charity information some free some at a cost. The Better Business Bureau in the USA, despite its name is also charity directory that lists both business and non-profit organisations.
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 belief in the public
According to a YouGov poll of 2005, even well known charities like Save the Children and Oxfam did not enjoy a high amount of faith by the majority of the British population amounting to 56%. The public seemed to have faith only in about 15% of the charities even among those that had good charity ratings.
Charity Watchdog Scares are more common
Belief in charities is at an all time low these days. Public can hardly be blamed for this. Charity watchdogs are ringing warning bells of charity institutions spending even up to 60% of the amount collected on overheads that include big salaries for managers so that very little remains for real 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 revealed
There is not much difference in the way in which charity organizations and commercial organizations try to get money. How they eventually use that money may be different, but their modus operandi for attracting that money is essentially 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 see a thing and might prefer to buy it, or would consider putting money in it, or creating a bond with it, we are likely to make the decision based on how enticing the whole idea is. If it is a very attractive proposition, we might instantly choose to opt for it while if it is not very enticing, we may not do it immediately.
Charity Water was exceptionally successful in getting media backing and good charity rating because of their appealing idea. The scheme of charging a good price for a bottle of charity water, and using the profits thereof for getting clean water to areas where it was not available, was a fascinating idea that appealed to all.
The factors that combine to make Charity Water so enticing, making it popular, are easily decipherable.
* 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
* Their focus was on how to solve the problem and not the problem itself. It is important for charities to properly define their focus if they want people to rate them highly. No one has interest in getting their attention turned to the unpleasant things in life. People want a positive focus. So when they are told that they can make a positive change in the lives of others by buying a bottle of water they feel happy.
How to let Charity Ratings plummet in a second
The fastest way in which a charity’s ratings would go down is when it turns itself less tempting by centring its attention on the problem. People are by and large disinclined to listen to negative things. On the contrary, most people are keen on listening to positive things that involve verve, dynamism, motivation and effort to bring in a fresh vision.
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 ratings of a charity depend substantially on the image it projects in front of the public. With a motivating and inspiring image people will be swayed to its ideas. They will then be ready to contribute well to the cause of the charity.
Social Enterprises improve Charity Ratings and solve the problems in Getting Funds
Social Enterprise is a new business pattern that evolved a few years ago. This combines trading with a social purpose. This pattern is a result of the interest of some businessmen who have social objectives but does not find the type of functioning of charitable enterprises satisfactory 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.
Buy1GIVE1 commonly known as B1G1 (Buy 1 Give 1), is a global organisation that is a recent entrant into the world of charitable giving. It is a perfect blend of business and valuable causes functioning at the global level. Buy1GIVE1 has so minimised its expenses of fundraising and management that it is able to give for charity all the funds collected. The institution is similar in its attributes to the online organization Kiva.org, which has been promoted by Bill Clinton; unlike conventional charities, Buy1GIVE1 involves direct giving to charities. Many people are convinced that it is a better way for contributing things and receiving richly in return.
Business leaders who are looking for opportunities to give back in effective ways and give to worthy charitable causes, see the great value and well-defined key marketing advantages businesses like Buy1GIVE1 offer. Each sales transaction makes a difference – and not just in an altruistic sense. With powerful ‘impact-matching’, businesses are gifted with an eye-opening, attention-grabbing marketing story. Compare the business that gives away a million dollars to charity with the one that lets their customers experience the joy of giving with Buy1Give1 transaction-based giving.
Enterprises like Buy1GIVE1 provide details of charity requirements, especially those which are really needy causes, and these always manage to attract lots of donations. Entrepreneurs understand very well the fundamentals of these equations and so are more likely to help such causes rather than worry about the charity rating. They know very well that people have an inherent tendency to respond to a more touching requirement, than simply to media rating.
Maple Muesli of Australia has allied itself with a charity called Midday Meals in India, in the city of Mumbai. As a result when a packet of muesli is bought, a needy kid is given food in Mumbai. Since a simple meal is available there at the cost of 30 US cents, Midday Meals daily manages to feed about 125,000 kids. The charity feeds these children in schools and it helps substantially in protecting children from begging and other harsh realities and abuse of street life.
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
In a matter of a few years, changes are bound to happen in the background of the top 100 charities as more inventive and effectual ways of giving originate. The current scenario offers very few choices on how to give for a charitable purpose. All the available ones are not good enough to make a dent in the existing problems.
Other methods of Charity Ratings
Some of the new and different ways to give are highlighted and rated in the table below. Charity Comparison Points
Some better known and not so well-known charities as well as Social Enterprises are evaluated and rated below so as to be of help to those who contribute to these.
THE SALVATION ARMY
ROUTE TO GIVING: DIRECT GIVING
The Salvation Army comes among the top 100 charities globally – contributions are made directly by both businesses as well as individuals.
CANDOUR – B – Insufficient candour – Lots of money is donated – but result is not completely quantifiable.
ADVANTAGE TO BUSINESS – C – Even a single donation to Salvation Army by a business might find mention in the press.
COSTS OF FUNDRAISING – B – Huge amounts are spent every year for raising funds.
DONOR’S CHOICE OF CHARITY – B – There are many charities and the contributors can decide to which one they would like to give directly.
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 that enters into partnership with companies, which then creates products with its logo, a percentage of which goes to fighting AIDS, TB and Malaria in Africa.
TRANSPARENCY – B – Lack of transparency – sum of money is contributed for every purchase – but result is not fully measurable.
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.
DONOR’S CHOICE OF CHARITY – C – Limited choice for collaborators on deciding to which charity they should donate – all their charity work is in Africa.
POTENTIAL FOR REAL GLOBAL CHANGE – B – Products (RED) only partner huge companies and all their profits go to Africa.
THE BODY SHOP
ROUTE TO GIVING: BUSINESS TRADE & GIVING
The Body Shop has a purchasing program known as community trade to help Third World countries; and from the income they generate, substantial contributions are made to charities.
OPENNESS – B – Not sufficiently open – Plenty of money is being collected – but the results are not always completely clear.
ADVANTAGE TO BUSINESS – A-tve – Clients are by and large happy to become part of the community trade and are encouraged to buy more – the enterprise could afford to be more visible.
FUNDRAISING COSTS – A – Lower costs – Successful business model that makes donations and boosts community trade.
DONORS’ CHOICE POTENTIALS – A – Ventures that donate has the option to decide in what way their donations are to be used.
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.
PATH 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.
BENEFIT FOR THE BUSINESS – B – It was beneficial to business sponsors as they got good media coverage, but as it was a single event results are not easily measurable.
FUNDRAISING COSTS – C – Spent millions of dollars on advertising on what some say was an unsuccessful event, which had no real goals.
CONTRIBUTORS’CHOICE OF CHARITY – C – Only three charities received funds.
POTENTIAL FOR REAL GLOBAL CHANGE – C – These events are usually held one-off or annually. Money is often given to larger, more established charities.
WAY TO GIVING: SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
B1G1 is a brand licensed to form a partnership with any business – connecting them with any worthy cause in any place. A truly universal precept.
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.
DONORS’ CHOICE POTENTIALS – A – Businesses have the option of choosing a particular project to donate to, or give to a worthy cause of their choice like feeding, knowledge training etc.
ABILITY FOR AFFECTING A CHANGE – A – Infinite. If increasing number of businesses can team up with charities worldwide, the possibility for real change is boundless.
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.
Asking the right questions is necessary for bringing about the required changes. Social entrepreneur Mohammed Yunus, who won the Nobel Peace Prize, has done pioneering work in the field of Microfinance and is revolutionizing the ways in which indigence and environmental problems can be tackled. People like him are showing the way as to how consumerism and social enterprise can change the face of the world. Another such example is the ‘Trade – Not Aid’ of The Body Shop. The ideals of Buy1GIVE1 are equally potent and are a model for charities. Social enterprise needs total recognition.
When questioned on how one can bring about some positive global change, Bill Gates showed Kiva.org and Buy1GIVE1 (www.b1g1.com) as examples of charities that enrich the giver. Those who sponsor a business are updated by Kiva.org about the activities of the business. Buy1GIVE1 also does this. By this arrangement enterprises get enough stories to tell their clients – if they buy a laptop they will know that it will help in some needy person somewhere else getting a computer.
Other methods for improving your Charity Ratings
Make sure that you have an open attitude, use the laptop effectively, and keep apart a little time to observe the novel and wonderful systems of charity that are being born. These function through the internet and are mostly network based.
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.
Many enterprises emerge out of thin air nowadays and grow enough in the matter of maybe three years to be sold for more than a billion dollars. This was unconceivable ten years ago, though today it has become a routine state of affairs. All these online enterprises are doing the same thing – drawing on international networks or themselves making international networks.
Buy1GIVE1 (Buy One Give One)
Buy1GIVE1 is a rather new entrant to the world of Social Enterprises and was launched in 1997 by a Japanese lady called Masami Sato. Any business can avail a membership in Buy1GIVE1, and membership charges for smaller ventures will only be one dollar a day and donations can be as little as one cent on a sale. Buy1GIVE1 is in the forefront of the Buy One Give One transaction-based giving world movement. Joining hands with Buy1GIVE1 is totally uncomplicated for businesses as well as charity needs. The working pattern of Buy1GIVE1 is perfectly controlled and practical. It connects the products or services of any given business to a needy cause (Buy1GIVE1’s or their own) and after that whenever a sale is closed, it has to be recorded and the contribution percentage sent to the charity at the end of the month or end of quarter year directly 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.
The dawn of a new age in charity giving
Companies that had no presence a few months ago are ravaging cyberspace with the echo of user acceptance. Services life Twitter , Facebook , MySpace , YouTube, NING and TipJoy are places you must have a presence in. Organisations like Change The Present, Kiva and companies like Buy1GIVE1 you should be building relationships with. These are all the new future and will all help maintain and build charity ratings. Today is a new opportunity to build a new future.