My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for GreatNonprofits, Redwood Shores, CA, USA
I was initially excited at the prospect of a service for nonprofit reviewing akin to Yelp, which I've enjoyed since 2005. This service has a lot of kinks to work out, though, and I hope leadership arises from within to address its responsibility and accountability to the independent sector.
Specifically, I am referring to the fact that GreatNonprofits will not perform any level of due diligence and reasonable investigation around false, damaging reviews. Let's face it - there are people out there who become upset with nonprofits for any number of reasons and then take it out on the NPO in a public forum to maximize damage. If the complaint is relevant, the organizations I know in the sector (including my own) are usually pretty great about taking accountability. We always want to do better.
In the case of my organization's first review, it was written by someone who wasn't hired for a job. They got upset and wrote a disparaging review of our agency, and of another they were not hired at. The reviews offer no constructive value, they reviewed no other NPOs, nor did the reviewer use a real name (which should tell you something). Based on the "star" rating system, it was our first review, so it made us look like a "one star" nonprofit.
I reached out to the reviewer to get more information and was ignored. I asked the other agency they reviewed to advocate GreatNonprofits to remove the fake reviews. I asked Great Nonprofits twice to at least investigate and remove it, but they merely cited that they were free from liability under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. They also advised me that they will release the user's information with a subpoena. I don't want their information and our agency can't waste resources on a subpoena! I simply want the review investigated by GreatNonprofits and removed when they see that my complaints have merit. It's simple customer service.
I am all for free speech and all constitutional rights. However, prospective donors and funders look at these ratings and make judgments about nonprofits. Situations like the one we experienced can block potential funding. When libelous or slanderous activities damage the reputation of an organization thereby preventing it from positive business achievements, that is also unconstitutional and can be prosecuted by law.
A lot of other agencies have the same complaint, so it's just a matter of time before a rally cry goes up and GreatNonprofits feels serious pressure to change their tactics. If they organized to be a responsible partner in our sector, they need to understand and practice ethics as they have power to affect growth and progress in our communities.
How would you describe the help you got from this organization?
How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?
How do you feel you were treated by this organization?
How did you find this group?
I was advised by a large foundation that part of their due diligence process is to read the rating and reviews on this site. It informs whether agencies get funding from them, in other words. I checked out the site and thought it was a nice idea.
What, if any, change in your life has this group encouraged?
My generation of nonprofit professionals is encouraged to be "disruptive" to the end that it causes positive change. This experience with GreatNonprofits makes me want to mobilize my nonprofit peers to facilitate changes be made to their Code of Conduct, ethics, and inquiry reviews.
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Review for Clausen House, Inc., Oakland, CA, USA
Awesome, inspiring organization with amazing people and programs.