Here's a tip for nonprofit journalists trying to expand their donor bases - and who isn't these days? A relatively new outfit called GreatNonprofits has positioned itself as a kind of social network for people interested in the nonprofit sector - "a place to find, review, and talk about great - and perhaps not so great - nonprofits," as the group's Web site explains.
Here's how it works: The site, which pulls data from GuideStar, automatically generates a profile for every 501(c)3 registered with the IRS. It has a search function that lets you look up nonprofits by sector or by name, and then captures your review. Based on all reviews, it assigns a rating on a five-star scale.
Not surprisingly, most of the reviews are positive and the ratings are high. But while the site might serve as a check on bad actors, its primary purpose is to give high-functioning nonprofits a place to let fans tell their stories - and then use the collected testimonial as a resource for fundraising and other development. As marketing and outreach director Shari Ilsen explains in a short video, the goal is to help nonprofits raise their profiles within their communities. "It's just a wonderful resource for free marketing," she said.
There are profiles for most of the journalism nonprofits you might think of. The search function didn't have journalism listed among its approximately has about two dozen categories. But Shari told me in an email today that she would add one.
GreatNonprofits is headed by Perla Ni, former publisher of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, who developed the idea following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Her staff wanted to do a story about the nonprofit sector's response, but could not find a reliable source of information about nonprofits that had descended upon New Orleans in the wake of the storm.