The Great Ratings Debate Recap
But, before I appear too positive about the BBB, let me be clear … there are challenges. To be accredited is free — submit the information for the 20 standards and wait for a response. But to advertise in your communication pieces that you are accredited via the BBB logo or the BBB seal will cost you. You don't pay for accreditation, but if you want the seal that shows you are accredited then you have to pay. This feels bad to some or too expensive to others, but looking at the long-run it is worth it. A study done by an independent research firm found that 45 percent of people who give to more than one charity said they would be more likely to give to a charity that displays the seal. Let's face it — the BBB has informed multiple generations on businesses across the country. Clearly, nonprofits are a part of that long history.
Where we should be focusing
With all that said — there are some very bad nonprofits out there. There are organizations that literally steal money from donors. There are organizations that spend much more money on themselves and big salaries than their missions. There are organizations that imply they are someone else and build upon the credibility of others to trick donors. What I wish is that those organizations were targeted by the watchdogs vs. splitting hairs at the top of the "ratings." We need to rid our industry of the bad charities. And, let's be clear, "bad" in this case is easy to define.
What I wish is that good charities did not have to spend professional energy on explaining why they are a 3.5 now when last year they were a 4.0, or why they were an A and now a B. As an industry, let's not pick apart the good guys — let's focus on getting rid of the bad guys. The BBB is attempting to highlight the ones that are "suspicious" or should make the donors investigate further. It specifically calls out three categories of organizations in its consumer information: organizations that meet all the standards, organizations that do not meet standards (and why, and even if they are working on improving), and organizations that refuse to disclose any information to the BBB. The third category is what I call "suspicious." That's who we should be educating donors about!!
Vice President, Strategy & Development
Eleventy Marketing Group
Angie is ridiculously passionate about EVERYTHING she’s involved in — including the future and success of our nonprofit industry.
Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing. She is a C-suite consultant with experience over the years at both nonprofits and agencies. She currently leads strategy and development for marketing intelligence agency Eleventy Marketing Group. Previously she has worked at the innovative startup DonorVoice and as general manager of Merkle’s Nonprofit Group, as well as serving as that firm’s CRM officer charged with driving change within the industry. She also spent more 14 years leading the marketing, fundraising and CRM areas for two nationwide charities, The Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Angie is a thought leader in the industry and is frequent speaker at events, and author of articles and whitepapers on the nonprofit industry. She also has received recognition for innovation and influence over the years.