Impact Stories: Great Nonprofits & Social Reviews for Charities

February 10, 2014 benevity

How Socially-Sourced 360 Feedback Helps People Understand Charity Impact


This month, we’re happy to share this guest post from the smart people at GreatNonprofits.


Think about the last time you bought something online. Did you look at Amazon or Google reviews first? Did you use Yelp to find a great local restaurant or TripAdvisor to coordinate your last adventure? When researching a new job, did you look at Glassdoor to see what other employees think of the company culture?


If you are like millions of people online, you did. And it makes sense: you are trying to get past “marketing speak” to look at what *real* people have to say about a particular product, service, or company. In fact 8 out of 10 consumers now trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, according to a recent Consumer Review Study.


Outcomes and Not Overhead: A 360 View of Performance


Online, 360 feedback is now being incorporated into employee giving and corporate matching programs and the nonprofit sector at large (see this story on net promoter scores for nonprofits here). In part, that’s because there is a push to really understand nonprofit results and outcomes – and get beyond the overhead myth. For years, people were urged to look at overhead ratios to guide their choice of charity. But such information reveals nothing about a charity’s impact on the people it serves. Socially sourced reviews provide a better way to evaluate nonprofits by displaying on-the-ground feedback. That’s where organizations likeGreatNonprofits come in handy. 


A Solution: GreatNonprofits – The Yelp of the Nonprofit Sector


GreatNonprofits, the largest nonprofit review site of its kind (think Yelp for nonprofits), lets people quickly find charities doing the most good, helping them donate time and money wisely. Donors can find worthy nonprofit organizations based on nearly 200,000 real-life stories of impact, written by volunteers, donors and beneficiaries.  “GreatNonprofits provides the best way to understand the work of nonprofit organizations—through users’ eyes, not simple numerical ratios,” says Bruce Sievers, Visiting Scholar and Lecturer at Stanford University’s Haas Center for Public Service. 


The reviews on GreatNonprofits span 32 issues, including animalseducationwomen’s issueshealthart, and more. They often come in the form of personal stories of impact, such as these from two 2013 Top-Rated Nonprofits:


  • GreatNonprofits inspired me to donate to another nonprofit… It was the holiday season, and I wasn’t sure about any particular nonprofit to donate to,” said Christina Ude, Founder of Reading Hamlets in Queens, N.Y.
  • “When we are exhausted, frustrated, and ready to give up, reading our reviews inspires us,” said Elyse Nardick at the Foundation for Children with Microcephaly in Phoenix, Ariz.

In the nearly seven years since its inception, GreatNonprofits’ online reviews have grown dramatically. And this growth continued in 2013 when GreatNonprofits review growth increased 30% and page views were up nearly 50%.


 Online Reviews Soon to Be At Your Fingertips through Benevity


Now these 200,000 stories of impact covering 20,000 nonprofits will be available in grants management software and employee giving software.  This is made possible through a bi-directional API built byGreatNonprofits (read details here).  In particular, Benevity will embed the API into Spark! (the award winning employee giving and volunteering solution) to help inspire and inform giving decisions for its end users.  The soon to launch feature will help Benevity’s clients engage their employees and add more information and interaction to their giving activities.


Look for more information about this feature in a future newsletter. But for now, help inform 360 feedback by writing a review at GreatNonprofits. Then, later this year, the information you write about your favorite nonprofit will be available via the Benevity platform. If you’re interested in learning more, you can contact GreatNonprofits’ CEO and founder, Perla Ni at


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