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Ministers support charity rating guide

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Ministers support charity rating guide4

Fundraising | 5 Oct 2011

A website or guide that rates charities could be a useful addition to the sector, ministers said yesterday.

When the suggestion for a Which? Guide to Charity was mooted by an audience member at yesterday’s Conservative Party Conference fringe event on how to increase giving by the wealthy, Ed Vaizey MP nodded in agreement, adding that a ratings system should also be included. The minister for culture, communications and creative industries said: “Yes, a Which?-style guide could be helpful, possibly even one that goes a step further and provides a star rating system, like the Zagat guide.”

Zagat.com is a website that provides user-generated reviews and ratings of restaurants around the world, the idea being that the shared opinions of thousands of people will give a more accurate view than the opinions of one or two critics.

At a later event, when civilsociety.co.uk followed up the question with the panel of charity experts at Charities Aid Foundation’s Charity Question Time event, Nick Hurd, minister for civil society also said he thought this was a good idea.

“I think a TripAdvisor-style website for volunteering and giving could add value,” he said. “A place where people can tap into others’ experiences of giving time in a way that is respected and valued could be a useful service to encourage.”

Panellist Simon Tucker from the Young Foundation said he would like to see more league tables on the voluntary sector. “Speaking as a representative of the Young Foundation which founded Which? I can say that we like this kind of thing. In fact we tried to create something similar with intelligentgiving.com (pictured), which is now part of New Philanthropy Capital. This was a guide for the tabloid reader which aimed to push the conversation away from overheads and help them make smarter decisions about where to put their money.

“The serious problem is finding the funding. On the whole the sector isn’t keen on it, nor are donors. There are always problems with league tables but I think the more the better.”

Sam Younger, chief executive of the Charity Commission, questioned who would be the appropriate person to construct such a guide but accepted there is more charities could do to release data about their work and how they operate. “There is a lot of information available about charities already. However, I think we can improve this information and also improve its navigability.”

 

 

Ben Wittenberg
DSC
6 Oct 2011

The article conflates a number of issues - the notion of increasing transparency and understanding by enabling beneficiaries/service users to review/comment publicly on the charities they have been supported by, is VERY different to (the spectacular idiocy of) league tables based on meaningless metrics.

Carl Allen
5 Oct 2011

A website that rates government departments would be useful but there goes the Audit Commission, the stopping of so many government surveys and the hobbling or winding up of inspection and regulatory bodies.

Adding insult to injury is becoming a common feature of government speak.

Kevin Kibble
Chief Executive
Caspari Foundation
5 Oct 2011

Once again politicians show that they really don't get charity at all. Intelligent Giving failed because it didn't understand that giving to charity is not about league tables and data, and trying to rubbish causes or organisations that people care about isn't going to make you any friends.

Can we better at telling donors about our impact? Yes we can, but we also need to respect our donors enough to tell them what it is they want to hear. Giving to help a cause you feel passionate about is not all in the head, much more comes from the heart.

Bob
5 Oct 2011
Response to [Kevin Kibble]

Agree - furthermore how would a person compare a 3-star "children's" charity to a 2-star "cancer" charity??

Neither as simple nor as useful as it first appears - let's not forget about arguments on school league tables and the US disagreeing with the Standard & Poor credit rating downgrade. Plus it will probably cost a bomb to set-up, run and allow some sort of appeals process when individual organisations disagree with their rating.

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