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Guest Blog: Perla Ni, GreatNonprofits
December 8, 2009
This morning, we’re thrilled to host Perla Ni, former publisher of the the Stanford Social Innovation Review and founder of GreatNonprofits on our blog! She’s writes today about our partnership to promote awareness of great organizations benefiting the poor and homeless.
GreatNonprofits and the National Alliance to End Homelessness Team Up for Hunger and Homelessness Awareness
When Hurricane Katrina hit, I was the publisher of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, and we wanted to write a story about how nonprofits were helping the victims. Even though we had access to far more information than the ordinary donor or volunteer, we found it difficult to find out which nonprofits were doing a good job of helping those in need.
We only started to get a clearer understanding of which nonprofits were actually rising to the challenge when our former managing editor, David Weir, flew out to Biloxi, Miss., and walked up and down the streets, asking people which nonprofits had been out there helping them. The locals told him about several excellent small, local nonprofits that provided supplies and help. One guy told him how he had broken his leg and had been living in his car until volunteers from a local nonprofit came and found him and took him to the doctor. The local nonprofit in that case was unknown to the larger world and received little public attention or funding. .
It struck me, as I struggled professionally to find great nonprofits for our magazine to write about, that there needed to be an online Yelp, or Amazon Reviews-type site, where clients, volunteers, donors, and others with first-hand experience with a nonprofit can share their experiences. .
Fast forward two years.
An average of 56,000 people per month are now coming to GreatNonprofits.org (and GuideStar, where the reviews are mutually shared), to write reviews about nonprofits and to find nonprofits based on these reviews.
But we don’t consider our job to be done. We know there are still thousands of nonprofits out there doing important work that no one has heard of, and it is our mission to find them and give them, and those involved with them, a voice.
Right now, during the holiday season, we’re focusing on nonprofits that provide food or shelter to those in need. Teaming up with the Alliance seemed like a natural thing to do- and we are lucky to have such a great partner for the 2009 Food and Shelter Awards.
The campaign will highlight nonprofits making a difference in this sector and give them exposure to potential donors.
Are you trying to get your stories of impact out to donors and supporters? Well here’s a free and easy opportunity. You can encourage your volunteers, clients, and donors, to write reviews about your nonprofit.
If your nonprofit has at least 10 positive reviews (four or five stars), you’ll get included on the Top Charities List promoted on GreatNonprofits as well as on GuideStar, the premier site for philanthropic research on the Web.
Plus this is a great opportunity to engage your stakeholders. Your clients, volunteers, donors, and board members who write a review about you are likely to become more ardent supporters. You’ll gain powerful, authentic stories of your impact that you can use in your internal and external communication. Your stories of impact will inspire your staff and inspire your supporters. Here some examples of nonprofits and how they’ve used their reviews:
- North Hills Community Outreach, which provides food to the needy, has seen more online donations after they gathered reviews.
- Project Homeless Connect has used their reviews to recruit more volunteers
- DC Central Kitchen shows its supporters and donors through its reviews that it is committed to transparency.
It’s quick and easy to encourage reviews. Send out an email, post it to your Facebook fan or group page, or tweet it out. You can get started at on our website.