Affairs of the Heart

Some people misunderstand the motivation for charitable giving. They consider that charitable donations typically result from extended intellectual analysis. In fact, most donors don’t think their way into giving to charity. From my observation, charitable giving is...

Navigating the Evaluators

I recently gave a keynote address for a conference of nonprofit leaders in Oregon. At one point, I asked people to raise their hands if they thought that the evaluation methodology of Charity Navigator, the country’s most popular nonprofit rating system, had validity....

Counting Mosquito Nets

If you think it’s simple to measure a nonprofit’s effectiveness, think again. I’ve written before about the failings of Charity Navigator and other rating systems, which resort to vastly oversimplified measurements to evaluate charities – often in misleading or...

Missing the Obvious in Nonprofit Ratings

[Note: This post is simultaneously being published as an opinion piece in the October 6, 2013 edition of the Chronicle of Philanthropy.] Americans love ratings and rankings. We like to think that all large, complicated questions can be answered by simple numbers....