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Building Up The Unpredictable Charity Ratings

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.

As the public can be easily influenced by the charity ratings that the agents of mass media give, it is very easy for a completely new charity to grow very fast and be able to attract a wave of charitable donations to their side. For the same reason, when they become less popular with the media, their charity ratings also go down.

Directory listings of charity rating

With scepticism running quite high with charity watchdogs pinpointing charity problems such as misconduct, having exceptionally high amounts of funds spent on admin or the misappropriation of funds, charity rating directory lists are flourishing. It’s so funny that philanthropic organizations that set out to give to others are now under the eye of charity watchdogs. Philanthropy is becoming a little complicated!

Institutions like Givespot.com, Guidestar.org etc. provide comprehensive listings of charity ratings. GiveSpot 100 list is the list of the 100 highest ranking charities that is provided by Givespot.com. Another one that provides similar data is charitynavigator.com which has a list of the top ten charities as well a charity check system. Finding out charities is made easy by this. The biggest charity director of US is Guidestar.org with lots of free data on charity as well as information that can be availed for payment. Though its name gives a different impression, Better Business Bureau is a charity directory that gives a list of both commercial and non-profit ventures of USA.

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

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

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.

It has been shown in recent studies that the expenses for raising funds in places like UK and Australia amount to about18% in the case of the former and 22% in the case of the latter. The corresponding amount in USA is about 30% according to the Association of Fundraising Professionals. These are without administrative expenses, which might be higher. This is a big issue with donors especially in situations like what happened in Singapore a few years ago when the issue fell under the media scanner. This sort of negative attraction leads to a reduction in charity giving which is definitely not a good sign.

Charity ratings secret revealed

There is little difference between businesses and charities when it comes to attracting money. Their end use of the money is of course different, but their special secrets to attracting it in the first place are much 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 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 factors that make Charity Water quite fascinating and promote its rating are the following.

* 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.

* Their idea of the vocation and their message is lucid, plain and remarkable – sell water and 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 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.

To prove this, all we have to do is look at ourselves in the company of our kids and know how our response is positive when children make a request in an exuberant, polite and eager manner. The same request, if made in an irritating or maudlin way, might elicit a negative response.

The images that a charity uses will affect its charity ratings. Using uplifting and inspiring images will uplift and inspire people. Uplifted and inspired people give more and spend more.

Social Enterprise raises Charity Ratings and reduces Fundraising Problems

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 comparatively new global social venture, Buy1GIVE1, also known as B1G1 (Buy 1 Give 1), combines commercial activities with noble causes and charity organisations across the globe. Buy1GIVE1 has reduced the costs of administration and fundraising so completely that it is able to give away the whole of the funds it gets. It functions in a way quite similar to online enterprises like Kiva.org, which has been given support by Bill Clinton; Buy1GIVE1 is a substitute for the conventional style of direct giving to charities. Lots of people find them a more practical way for making donations while receiving valuable things in return.

Entrepreneurs, who are forever on the lookout for avenues to give in return to the society in effectual ways and to donate to beneficial charitable causes, realise the exemplary worth and strong marketing principles of organisations like Buy1GIVE1. Each and every sale that is made makes a change – not merely philanthropically. It makes a change with its strong impact as well, for every sale that is made becomes a poignant story that is an eye-opener. Buy1Give1 is a far cry from the commercial enterprises that might donate a million dollars to charity, for it lets the customers fully relish the joy of giving. The transaction-based giving of Buy1Give1 is a lesson in perfection.

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 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 familiarised the whole of Australia with the noble cause of the Midday Meals. The company has made all its customers aware of the stupendous service the charity is doing and how their money is helping it. This has made Midday Meals tremendously popular even though all they are doing is providing meals for the kids. The era of Effective Giving has dawned – that of Plain Charity Donations is disappearing at the horizon.

We will surely see a change in the landscape of the top 100 charities over the coming years as new and innovative and far more effective ways of giving are created. These days we are spoilt for choice on how we can make our charitable giving. Not all of them are efficient ways to make a difference.

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

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

PATH 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.

EXPENSES FOR RAISING FUNDS -B – Heavy expenses are incurred for raising funds.

DONORS’ CHOICE POTENTIALS -B- For those who want to give directly, there are plenty of charities to choose from.

ABILITY FOR EFFECTING A CHANGE -C – Nothing specific in the activities that is likely to bring about a change.

PRODUCT (RED)

PATH TO GIVING : MARKETING CAMPAIGN

Product (RED) is a brand licensed to partner companies, to raise money for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Africa.

CANDOUR – B – Insufficient candour – Lots of money is donated – but result is not completely quantifiable.

BENEFIT FOR THE BUSINESS – A – Popular among business ventures as well as people as it is supported by charismatic personnel like Bono and Oprah Winfrey. Marketing results are however not fully traceable.

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

WAY TO GIVING: BUSINESS TRADE & GIVING

The Body Shop engages in community trade helping Third World countries; and makes huge donations to charities from their profits.

CANDOUR – B – Insufficient candour – Lots of money is donated – but result is not completely quantifiable.

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.

COSTS OF FUNDRAISING – A -Comparatively low – It is a good business pattern that makes a lot of donations to charities and enhances community trade.

DONORS’ CHOICE POTENTIALS – A – Ventures that donate has the option to decide in what way their donations are to be used.

PROMISE FOR GLOBAL CHANGE – B – The potential for giving back to the community is substantial – but not everyone have the impetus and the extra energy to impel the change.

LIVE EARTH

ROUTE TO GIVING: EVENT FUNDRAISING

Live Earth was a series of music concerts for a global audience held on July 7, 2007 which kick-started a three-year long campaign to fight climate changes across the world.

CANDOUR – F – As per the reports of the site Intelligent Giving, satisfactory accounts were not produced on the proceeds from the sales of tickets.

MARKETING VALUE TO BUSINESS – B – Business sponsors got good coverage – but it was only a one time event and it is not easy to test and measure results.

EXPENSES FOR RAISING FUNDS – C – Substantial sums were spent on promotion of an event which was considered a fiasco by many as it did not have any proper objectives.

DONORS’ CHOICE POTENTIALS – C – Funds were made available only to three charities.

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:

* Quantifiable giving * Press coverage * Valuable stories * Individual to individual * Continuing 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.

CONTRIBUTORS’CHOICE OF CHARITY – A – Business givers can choose their charity project or elect to give to a charity cause such as food or education, 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 No Big Deal!”

Giving away money appears simple on the face of it – it just involves pulling out notes or writing a cheque or punching in a credit card. But reality is a bit different. George Sores, who has donated billions to charity, insists that effective giving is a very complicated business. Underdeveloped nations receive a lot of money in aid year after year but the changes effected do not seem to be proportionate.

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 queried as to how someone can effect a change in the world, Bill Gates pointed towards organisations like Buy1GIVE1 (www.b1g1.com) and Kiva.org which reward the giver richly. Kiva.org ensures that those who sponsor a business get regular updates via email from those businesses. Buy1GIVE1 also ensures this. With such communication, customers get a clear picture and come to know the stories behind the charities. For example, when they buy a laptop, someone who badly needs a computer might be getting it at some other corner of the world.

Other methods for improving your Charity Ratings

Ensure that you have an inquisitive mind, and remain connected to a computer, and spare some time to find out about the new types of charities and how they function. These programs are mainly based on networking and work through the internet.

Today if you are not linked in with powerful global networks through the Internet you are missing out and no matter what your charity rating is today, tomorrow things will change – radically.

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 comparatively new Social Enterprise established in’97 by a Japanese lady named Masami Sato. Today any business globally can be a member of Buy1GIVE1. The membership fee for smaller enterprises is as low as $1 for a day. Contributions can also be as low as one cent on a sale made. Buy1GIVE1 is spearheading the Buy One Give One transaction-based giving global movement. For any enterprise or charity requirement, working jointly with Buy1GIVE1 is very simple. It is perfectly structured and accommodating enough to adjust to the requirements of its partners. An organisation can connect its products or services with any charity endeavour (Buy1GIVE1’s or their own) and each time a sale is made, the sale has to be recorded and the input paid at the end of a specific period. The amount can be sent through Buy1GIVE1 or directly to the concerned charity.

If you are not forging an alliance with Buy1GIVE1 and encouraging your business sponsors to become Buy1GIVE1 members you will be missing our more and more as this amazing enterprise makes a huge impact in the world of giving.

A new epoch in charity giving

Organizations that have been non-entities just a couple of months ago have now invaded internet with resounding user acceptance. Having an online presence on sites like MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, NING or TipJoy are becoming survival requirements. Likewise companies like The Present, Buy1GIVE1 and Kiva are organisations that one should build a relationship with. These are the avant garde institutions that help to create and sustain charity ratings. Now is the time to give new life to a perfect future.

Discover more about how Buy1GIVE1 (BOGO) can transform your business using Cause Marketing. This and other unique content ‘charity’ articles are available with free reprint rights.