08 Oct Jonathan Cartu States: 21% of Donors Use Charity Watchdog Services, Study Finds
Twenty-one percent of donors always or usually use charity watchdogs to help evaluate nonprofits, while 68 percent rarely or never use them, according to a new report.
Grey Matter Research and Harmon Research conducted an online survey of more than 1,000 American adults. Among that pool were 455 people who gave to charities over the past year, not including those who gave to their local religious congregation.
Ron Sellers, president of Grey Matter Research, said the poll was not a true representative sampling because the survey was conducted online, although efforts were made to have a “balanced” demographic pool of respondents.
Forty-eight percent of donors had not heard of any of the eight organizations listed by the survey — Charity Navigator, CharityWatch, Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, GiveWell, GuideStar, Great Nonprofits, Ministry Watch, and Wise Giving Alliance from the Better Business Bureau. Only 15 percent were “very familiar” with any of those eight organizations.
‘No 800-Pound Gorilla’
Awareness of the various organizations was spread relatively evenly. “There’s no 800-pound gorilla among charity watchdogs,” the report says.
CharityWatch had the highest awareness level at 32 percent, followed by Ministry Watch (27 percent), GiveWell (24 percent), Wise Giving Alliance, (24 percent), Charity Navigator (23 percent), Great Nonprofits (21 percent), and GuideStar (18 percent).
The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability came in last at 16 percent.
The report notes there likely is some confusion about the various charity watchdogs. To test that point, a fake organization called CheckMeOut was included in the survey questions; 14 percent of respondents said they’d heard of it.
Awareness of charity watchdogs was higher among younger people than older people, so the report concludes that watchdog organizations will become increasingly important in the future.