Comment in response to “The Charity 100: Where is your money going?” by Sarah Efron, June 17, 2010:
The rating system devised by MoneySense to grade charities displays an unfortunate reliance on data points, downloaded from CRA filings, which produce a crude, distorted snapshot of the nonprofit community that lacks depth of understanding and fails to focus on accomplishment.
As fundraisers working on behalf of nonprofit hospitals and health care systems across Canada and the U.S., members of the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) are firm believers in providing information about the programs they support that is both useful and truthful. AHP members take great care to gather information that accurately benchmarks a wide range of fundraising activities – from annual drives and special events to major gift and planned-giving programs, and they take these evaluations very seriously.
Yet we readily acknowledge that it is impossible for a donor to gain an accurate picture of the donation-worthiness of a hospital, foundation or health service without actually scrutinizing what the organization has set out to accomplish and how well it has performed in fulfilling its goals and mission. Outcomes are what count, but you cannot determine the effectiveness of a nonprofit organization by only looking at its efficiency in fundraising, its governance structures or its reserve funds.
It may be tempting to judge nonprofit organizations by concentrating on factors that are easily measured but not entirely relevant to providing a complete picture of the work those charities are actually doing. I am afraid that is the very trap into which MoneySense has fallen.
William C. McGinly, Ph.D., CAE
President, Chief Executive Officer
Association for Healthcare Philanthropy