Bigger Than its Numbers

More posts by

Within the past month, New Jersey’s Division of Consumer Affairs unveiled a new iPhone app that is sure to create a lot of waves in the charitable donation industry. The app, called “Charity Lookup,” allows you to quickly investigate charities before donating to them. The app will be updated weekly with information from the New Jersey Division’s database and will provide information on an organization’s background, expenses and revenues. The point behind this app? To allow people to really know who they are shelling out their money to. However, the decision on what organization to donate to is not as cut-and-dry as this app makes it out to be.

According to our very own experts in the charitable donation industry here at Evergreen Partners, while anything that encourages individuals to give to a cause is important, the app simply does not provide enough information to help donors get a good sense of what their money is supporting.

Don’t just trust what an app says – Donors who want to be educated about a non-profit’s spending should look at the organization’s website to review its annual report. More importantly, however, get involved.  Just providing numbers alone can be unclear and unhelpful – a piece of technology that gives someone numbers does not properly represent the complexity of non-profit services. The types of services an organization provides and the details in how it spends its money can be much more important than the amount of money that it spends. In some cases money spent on capital might be just as important as the money spent on programming.

If you are going to investigate a charity you might as well do a full investigation and read about them instead of reading a very brief summary from a piece of technology. While convenient, “Charity Lookup” does not provide the whole picture.

Comments are closed.