Yelp for Non-Profits: Volunteered? Sound Off!

There are thousands of nonprofits in this country: organizations as big as the NRDC and Greenpeace and as small and locally focused as Alaska’s Iditarod Trail Committee or the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture. How do you know which ones are making a difference? Which ones have strong reputations in their community? And which ones provide a worthwhile experience for their corporate volunteers?
While Charity Navigator has the market cornered on independent reviews, a new player on the scene aims to let individuals share their experiences a la yelp. Founded by nonprofit expert Perla Ni, GreatNonprofits is a site where everyday people can share their opinions and experiences with nonprofit organizations.

Just like a dentist reviewed on Yelp is fair game for anyone’s opinion (of course it’s up to other readers to give weight to those opinions), now so are nonprofits on the site Great Nonprofits. Volunteered and hated it? Really enjoyed your fund-raising experience? Now you can tell the world, the world can know, organizations can use the feedback to make improvements, and the private sector can have a transparent view for potential partnerships.
“So many donors and volunteers want to know if their giving is going to make a difference,” says Ni, CEO and founder of the nonprofit website. “It struck me that there needed to be an online ‘Zagat’ that would collect stories and reviews of people who could speak personally and firsthand about their experiences with nonprofits.”
This year, the site decided to have a special push for Earth Day. Ni says that because there are so many opportunities to partner with environmental nonprofits, it’s important to know which are the best ones to do business with. So Great Nonprofits launched their Green Choice Awards to focus on groups and organizations with green and environmental missions. The contest seeks to find the best environmental nonprofits out there. She explains, “We know that Earth Day is important to so many businesses and employees, so we wanted to highlight the best local, regional and national nonprofits who are working to better our planet.”
The contest ends April 15th, with the best groups revealed on Earth Day. As extra incentive to submit reviews, people who do so are eligible for prizes sponsored by Whole Foods, Fetzer Wines, and more.
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