Sean Stannard-Stockton and Nathaniel Whittemore point us to a recently-released UK report that shows that only 40% donors are interested in creating a new national charity rating scheme and 68% said such a rating scheme would not change their giving decisions.
Reflecting on these facts, Sean writes a post titled Do Donors Care Whether Nonprofits are Any Good?
And Nathanial’s title is Do Donors Care About Impact? Not Really
Nathanial’s conclusion from the aforementioned statistics: “Uh oh. That’s some pretty damning evidence that donors don’t care.”
The other way to look at these numbers is to conclude that donors don’t believe that a rating scheme is going to work; that they don’t believe that such an approach is going to effectively inform them about how to make charitable decisions. (I happen to agree that it won’t, though that’s a post for another day.) If that’s what’s really going on, then the right headline – much less catchy, and much less likely to be retweeted – would be: “Do donors believe that rating agencies are any good at their jobs? No.”
There’s a lot of good stuff in both Sean’s and Nathanial’s posts, especially Sean’s point that we need to put as much effort into spreading ideas as we put into assessing impact. But I also think we have to be careful. I don’t think we advance the field of philanthropy and champion the cause of effective philanthropy by making and tearing down caricatures of philanthropists, and I think the blog post titles do just this.
It’s fun to be provocative to grab attention, but not when it cuts directly against what I know Sean and Nathanial and all of us hope to be part of – an ever-improving, ever-more-dynamic field of philanthropy that brings about large-scale, positive social change.