- According to the American Endowment Foundation (AEF), most non-profit donors prefer to research and work themselves when planning to invest in a non-profit organization.
- The services of online validators such as Guidestar and Charity Navigator are said to be limited.
- AEF provides a list of 10 steps that should be followed when evaluating a non-profit organization. The steps include;
- Look at the charity’s mission and determine if this is important to the donor.
- Look at the outcomes. For instance, how many people has the organization helped, and has increased or decreased over time? Given the size and budget, is that number reasonable?
- Review the financial information. Is it transparent and recent? Are the expenses in line with the budget? Has the budget increased or decreased in recent years? If applicable, how has it adjusted to a decrease in government funding? Look through the current Form 990 and also verify its tax-exempt status.
- Talk or meet with the organization’s leadership if the donation is significant enough. Have there been many turnovers of key staff members? How can the donation be best utilized? Who will be the primary contact person for the donor?
- Identify who is on the board of directors. Are there many or few board members? Are they business or community leaders? Especially if a donor is considering joining a board, they should meet with some board members.
- Evaluate the prominent supporters. Are there many funders or few? Have key funders been involved for some time? Does the donor know any supporters?
- Discuss with the leaders how the donor can be most helpful in addition to financial contributions.
- Visit the organization if possible or volunteer to get to know the work’s people and quality.
- Determine that the organization has an outstanding reputation.
- Feel confident that contributions and efforts will be appreciated and utilized effectively and efficiently.
- Service Objects makes use of a real-time API known as DOTS Lead Validation to perform multi-point contact validation on global contact records.
- The service cross-validates a prospect’s name, address, phone, email, and device against hundreds of authoritative data sources, correcting and appending accurate data where needed. It applies an overall quality score of 0-100.
- Management Help describes an Outcomes-Based Evaluation approach for evaluating non-profit organizations.
During our initial research, we were unable to find any pre-compiled best practices associated with validating or evaluating non-profit organizations. Our initial search revealed that most top companies that invest in non-profit organizations such as Google and Microsoft employ the services of non-profit validators and evaluators such as Techsoup and Background Check Group. We also found some standard Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) leveraged by sponsors when evaluating non-profit organizations.