I am impressed with the vision and execution of your mission of providing tools for donors & volunteers to find, review, and analyze non-profits. I like the ability of scanning your 32 Issues categories for areas I am interested in. Clicking on your most reviewed designation, I am able to have at my fingertips some of the most popular non-profits. Browsing the various reviews and ratings within those popular charities gives me a way to validate such charities. Although I need to go to other sites to review the financial statement for the charities I want to research further, you have provided a valuable service to tens of thousands of people. I believe that such information has multiplied into unimaginable good. From a testimonial perspective, your tool has helped a charity I work with. Mary Queen of All Nations Missionary Alliance out of NJ has kept its light under the bushel for 29 years. You might imagine that a group serving tens of thousands of poor spanning 56 countries misht be well knowm. Although our 503 missionaries have known it well over the years, until your greatnonprofits.org 2013 ratings review effort that just ended, few in the world would have known that such a charity existed. This diamond hidden in the rough is getting good reviews because it has delivered 100% of donations it received to aid the poor by taking no salaries and having a founder absorb all operating costs through her sacrifice. Although our many thousands of poor could not vote without internet, you provided a life-changing tool for the world to learn. In MQAN's case, scores of missionaries found a way to give voice and hope to our poor. You have thousands of other non-profits doing good. Your information dissemination tool is surely like multiplication of the loaves. For all non-profits, a big THANKS.
In response to my previous and continued requests for action.
Ms. Ni, I have submitted numerous requests to your customer service and have yet to have this issue resolved. I've sent you messages direct through Facebook and any other possible means to try and convey what is truly transpiring. This is not about public postings for accountability on our nonprofit at your site, but about malicious online bloggers who have no knowledge of our company, services or the work that we've performed in one specific case. The same group of bloggers who have publicly posted they will do all possible to have our company dissolved and reputation ruined. By allowing this performance is giving clear rights to bullying and cyber-harassment and more importantly, giving them the platform to continue their malicious campaign of hate. I'm sure you can understand just how important reputation is to a nonprofit and especially personal reputation when one is continually named publicly in a derogatory manner by cyber harassment? My attorney has already clearly identified their work as libelous and they've been given cease and desist notifications, yet, GreatNonprofits is the only portal that is continuing to allow them to come every 10-days to repost their negative and malicious posts so that they always appear at the top of our page…on your site.
You stated: "Secondly, online feedback ratings and reviews rely on crowd-sourced insights. We don't impose editorial control. Everyone can write a review. "
My response: This is the problem I have. You should be responsible to have control. Allowing multiple negative comments by the same posters over and again is giving the platform for those who are cyber-harassing and creating malicious havoc. You state "everyone" can write a review? Yet, your TOS clearly states that those who write reviews " Not use the Site to threaten, stalk, defraud, incite, harass, or advocate the harassment of another person, or otherwise interfere with another user's use of the Site;" , Yet, your site is allowing the negative posts to remain, in which clear name calling "narcissistic martyr" is stated (and Google Cached to my personal self and reputation) and clearly if you reviewed our entire site you will find that we had 100% 5-star ratings from 2008 - March of 2013 and that the only negatives on our record (at your site) are by a small group of cyber-stalkers (following our posts online in numerous sites and posting libelous and derogatory comments.)…and many of those with the same IP address. (Only one time did your group remove 16 posts , all negative, all done by the same IP address and all names created at your site was specifically targeted towards my autistic son, my Exec Asst whose husband is deceased, our Event Coordinators minor child's name and other names of harassment. The only reason those posts were removed is my email went to your IT person who noticed the same IP address. Your Customer Service has yet to take appropriate action to block the continued negative posters IP addresses from posting, has yet to halt ALL postings (pos or neg) until their actions are under control. ( My attorney advised that I place a public posting asking for cease and desist, in accordance to the letters sent to their Sheriff Depts asking the same...and that is what the "threats" are they are speaking of in some of the posts.)
You further stated, "And nonprofits can encourage their clients, volunteers and donors to write reviews about them. We also provide nonprofits equal voice. You can respond to reviews about you. "
My response: I've learned that responding to the negative postings only encourages more harassment. This should not be a portal for harassment. You also stated nonprofits can encourage clients, donors and volunteers. Not one of those posting are affiliated, worked with, observed, or have any knowledge of our nonprofit. Clearly in what they are writing they have no mission except to continue harassment. At the same time you may ask why? The reason is that they are a handful of people who post on a website theorizing cases of missing people.
The husband of a missing woman came to us to help locate his wife and as the same service we provide to all families of missing, we provided to him and his children. He was recently arrested and charged with her murder; however, he has not gone to trial as yet and has not been deemed guilty or innocent. Regardless of that outcome, it has nothing whatsoever to do with our company, services and work we provided around the clock for 7 weeks to locate his missing wife. His actions, or in-actions, has no bearing on our company…yet these bloggers feel that we should be dissolved as one of our clients "may be guilty?" The very premise of our work is to help families of missing. The entire time of the case we worked with law enforcement and never once during the 7 weeks was he ever named a person of interest , nor was the case a homicide investigation. That all changed once her body was located, however, at the same time…once a body is located our services are no longer needed as the missing person is found. Yet, in the mind of the bloggers…because we sought a "living missing person" they felt that we were wrong as we "shouldn’t have" been looking for a missing person but a deceased one. That group of bloggers had no public knowledge of the case information that we were privy to nor do they know the roles we played in seeking both a living missing person and a possible deceased person…yet they freely post on your sight blatant lies and cruel remarks and pose them as if I, the president of the company, stated or did. I did not state or do any of what they're posting. Trying to clarify our work to those who want to cause disruption and spread false lies are fruitless as they have one mission only and that is malicious havoc.
Again, you stated " People will make decisions based on the totality of information. In this case, it sounds like you have one negative review and the majority are positive reviews. Most readers will expect some negative reviews. They will not expect you to be perfect. "
My response: Your site is now tied on the front page of GuideStar. If one were to go there and look up my organization and scroll down to reviews…the first two reviews of your site appear there. They are always 1-star Negative reviews as no matter how many of those who do write truthfully and post a pos review, the cyber harassment continues and they make sure that their negatives are always on top. They will "lay off" for about 10 days or so…enough time for factual reviews to come and post…and then begin their havoc by posting their negative so that the first impression anyone would have are their posts. If you were to go to GuideStar and need the services of a nonprofit and you scroll down and the very first reviews you see are 3 negatives (1-star) in a row….are you really going to continue to want to pursue that nonprofit? What if you are in the postion to offer a grant? Would you continue to pursue seeing the first 3 reviews are negatives? I wouldn’t.
I would appreciate if you could take a bit more time and seriously look into these problems and concerns. Fact is you also mentioned that you provide us with a "free service" and yet, I never asked for this service? You listed our site and when your site asked us to "claim our nonprofit" , of course we would as we wouldn't want someone who is "not us" to claim it? Never did we come to you and request your services nor would I after this continued experience in which your GreatNonprofits site feel is "just and important" when in fact is lacks very serious enforcements of your very own terms of service? How can you claim that you're team is doing good work when you are merely building a website (blog, in my opinion) and allowing complete malicious havoc to transpire and then to tell the nonprofit, when they report the problems, that they can "learn from the public of their mistakes and grow from it?"
I'm not exactly sure what all GreatNonprofit has done to actually help the community, however, if it is to utilize this site in order to "rate" a service or nonprofit agency....it is far below expectations. First, the customer service portal is very inept. Absolutely no phone number to place a call.
Secondly, don't trust the star rating system because any person can come here and give a testimonial regarding a nonprofit and not even know the company nor worked or were serviced by said nonprofit. I know this firsthand as my ratings have dropped from a full 5 star of 89 families that we have worked directly with ...to 4.5 stars as now malicious people pretending to have first hand knowledge of our company starts to write bad reviews, purposely and maliciously. I, as President and Founder, have brought this to the attention of GreatNonprofits and they've done nothing. Apparently anyone can say anything they want, including libeling a person and company, and GreatNonprofits will let their statements stand as a "true rating." Very very poor system, no monitoring, no effective communications. I hope GuideStar finds another service company because this is very poor.
Perla N. 04/18/2013
Thank you for taking the time to comment. There's a number of protocols that we follow at GreatNonprofits that are standard in the online feedback industry. The first is that customer service is handled by email instead of phone. That is so that requests get recorded, documented and answered properly. Secondly, online feedback ratings and reviews rely on crowd-sourced insights. We don't impose editorial control. Everyone can write a review. And nonprofits can encourage their clients, volunteers and donors to write reviews about them. We also provide nonprofits equal voice. You can respond to reviews about you. You can present your mission, achievements, results, programs on the website for free. Lastly, you can be sure that people online are used to triaging user-generated information. People will make decisions based on the totality of information. In this case, it sounds like you have one negative review and the majority are positive reviews. Most readers will expect some negative reviews. They will not expect you to be perfect. Thanks again for your comments.
This program has really helped me out when i had no where else to turn
This site is an unmonitored disaster. It has the potential to cause serious damage to legitimate non-profit groups - and probably already has to many. Any psycho with a grievance - real or imagined - can easily create multiple identities and use them to slander the organization and even it's other clients by name with no oversight at all. Take control and monitor this site - or shut it down. You are doing a disservice to all concerned with the mess you have created.
Hi Gypsy, Thanks for taking the time to post your review here. We assure you that we do monitor the site and take the issues you mention seriously. We are constantly working towards fair solutions that both allow reviewers to share their honest opinions, and discourage people from abusing the site. - GreatNonprofits
What a joke!!! No credibility at all. When a review site such as this has no control over what is written on it - it beggars belief.
Perla N. 10/04/2011
We appreciate you taking your time to explain your overall concerns. We have data that we can share with you that shows the reviews are used quite differently than what you may expect. GreatNonprofits enables stakeholders of nonprofits to tell the stories of the nonprofits impact. The majority of reviewers are volunteers of nonprofit and the second largest category are clients served by the nonprofit. Many of the reviews are written by homeless people, by disabled, by elderly, by veterans, and other clients served. And, according to nonprofits who have been reviewed, 70% find their reviews useful and share the reviews with their staff and board. You can watch the video here with our founding nonprofits from Pittsburgh and San Francisco talking about how they use GreatNonprofits to achieve their missions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcSXqPBoakM.
For more than two weeks, I have been complaining to you that my account was hacked. I sent you three emails and wrote a comment here. I complained to you that at least 4 or 5 accounts with my name had been set up to create havoc on the BCO review site. I ask you to remove the duplicate accounts that you allowed. And for that, I get "my" account deleted. Given the lack of interest and the time that elapsed, there's no telling the extent of the hacking that occurred here. I also ask you to go to the BreastCancer.org website and read the comments posted there not the views - the comments. They brag about setting up multiple accounts, because you do not check if the account name is use before you allowed it to be used multiple times. Others joked that you do not require the terms and conditions to be checked. Others discovered that they did not need valid email addresses and bragged about that in their comments. Others discovered that they did not need to do a review at all - they could just harass with the new userid you had given them. Fortunately, while I was waiting two - three weeks for you to show any interest in this problem, I copied what I needed to copy regarding this and the emails that I sent you. There are no words strong enough for your lack of timeliness, indifference, or your incompetance.
Perla N. 10/04/2011
Thank you for taking the time to write a review. We have implemented a number of additional security features in light of your situation. Sincerely, GreatNonprofits
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.
Youth Journalism International has found Great Nonprofits a wonderful resource for learning more about our own organization and for telling the world about its activities.
We also have to say a word of praise for how quickly its technical staff fixed a glitch not of its own making. These folks are really good.
This site has high-minded words but its actions DAMAGE many great nonprofits. Any kook can write a bunch of lies about a "real" experience and cause real damage.
Your service is turning out to be such a wonderful opportunity. We've never had a good channel for feedback and suggestions before, and the outpouring of enthusiasm and constructive ideas has been priceless. A fringe benefit is that I now have quotes I can use in my next grant proposal!