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GuideStar Blog

What the rating services should really tell us

The need for data and information about our sector has never been more pressing. The need for multiple layers of information distributed in a myriad of ways by a great number of platforms and processes is here. It’s now.

Bunkie RIghter Bunkie Righter

We at GuideStar and our partners throughout the sector are on it. We're figuring out how to disseminate this vital information visually, in large “big data” ways, in commercial and other nonprofit efforts.

What, however, is not needed? Watchdogs and media hounds creating suspicion based on financial ratio information that does not actually indicate the viability, effectiveness, or efficiency of an organization. Watchdogs more interested in headlines and personal missions than in actually rooting out fraud. Don’t get me wrong—do I think some charities are more efficient and effective than others? Why, yes, I do! Do I think that all charities should be tarred with the same brush? Why, no, I don’t!

There is a place for the police in our culture. There is a place for discernment in our culture. The evaluators and ratings organizations could do our sector the most good by becoming the go-to watchdogs (for real bad guys), identifying nonprofits that are abusing their tax-exempt status, instead of subjecting all charities to meaningless financial measurements.

GuideStar is part of the solution. Charities, you are part of the solution. Givers and funders, you are part of the solution. Let’s quickly get past what is not part of it and MOVE ON to what we are here for—making the world a better place.

Bunkie Righter, senior director of business development at GuideStar, has 25 years of experience in both nonprofit management and fundraising. During the last 14 years with GuideStar, Bunkie has worked in a variety of roles, and for the last eight years in her current role, where she focuses on developing partner relationships and delivering comprehensive data solutions from the GuideStar database for partners and clients. Beyond the distribution of GuideStar’s extensive database through licensing partnerships, she travels throughout the country talking with nonprofit professionals about GuideStar’s role in the nonprofit sector.

Topics: Nonprofit Leadership and Practice