This report, which was originally posted on the Charity Navigator website, has been posted here for your reading pleasure.
I am happy to share with you evidence of the major strides we made in October in the development of CN 2.0. We were asked to present a prototype of CN 2.0 at an annual conference called SoCap10. Therefore, we developed a very rough, unapproved first draft. So please be mindful that the final version may end up being substantially different. Our Advisory Panel and Board of Directors have yet to weigh in on this. Therefore, it is meant to give you a general idea of our thinking, rather than the exact particulars of the final product. It has been said by many that a picture is worth a thousand words, so hopefully the slides below will make the point.
As you can see, we were asked to review DC Central Kitchen. This is an organization that is already reviewed by us with our current one-dimensional (focused on financial health) rating system. Within the current system they rate a score of 2, whereas in the CN 2.0 prototype, they received a score of 4 (see slide # 6).
This change reiterates our message that a wise social investor (donor with their eyes wide open) needs to look at three dimensions of a charity’s performance when making their decision – financial health, accountability/transparency and results (esp. outcomes). In the prototype, we weight the scoring of the three dimensions of the rating system as shown in slide 3 – 33% financial health, 17% accountability/transparency and 50% results. This reflects our belief that the most important dimension of all is the results (esp. outcomes) of the charity’s work. This is the core of what a mission driven charity is all about - producing meaningful results that help people and communities.
We have begun testing this first prototype with the Hewlett grant (mentioned in my last report) in which graduate and undergraduate students will be trained to conduct the rating analysis. We will use their experience and feedback to further adjust the tool before we make a recommendation to our Advisory Panel and Board of Directors on what we hope to formally launch next year.
As we have stated before, how quickly we can fully implement CN 2.0 will be determined by the resources available to us. By the end of this week, all of you reading this should (unless you donated within the past few months) have received an email or letter requesting your continued support for our work. We need your help to make this dream of a three dimensional rating system become a reality. Please take a moment and make a donation now to help us meet our mission of providing you with the best information we can for you to make intelligent giving decisions.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
All the best,