What you need to know about your donors and charity watchdogs

How important is it for you to have good ratings from charity watchdogs?

Short answer: You can probably get away with ignoring the watchdogs, at least for now, but I wouldn’t if I were you.

I survey by Grey Matter Research looked into donor awareness and use of watchdogs: Charity Watchdogs: Ignore Them at Your Own Risk.

Here are some of the findings:

Only about of third of donors say they ever use watchdogs to check out organizations they’re thinking of supporting.

Awareness of the organizations is low; only half of donors have even heard of any of eight watchdogs named in the survey.

But among some groups, the use of watchdogs is much higher:

  • Young donors.
  • Higher income donors.
  • Non-white donors.
  • Religious donors.

These are groups you should be paying close attention to. They may be important to you now, and they certainly will be more important in the future.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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