greatnonprofits300In my online marketing workshops, I ask nonprofits to imagine the day when practically every prospective donor checks to see what current donors think about their organization by reading online reviews. Something like 3/4 of people say customer reviews influence their purchasing decisions and it’s not much of a stretch to see how that can morph from reading reviews before you buy a camera to reading reviews before you make a donation.  That day far off in the future just got a whole lot closer.

Guidestar is now working with GreatNonprofits to share user comments about charities with each other. Comments posted on one site will appear on the other as well.  I did a quick check and the nonprofits that are “most reviewed” and have the “highest ratings” are nearly all local or regional nonprofits, which means that they are actively asking their supporters to write reviews, rather than waiting for it to happen naturally. Smart cookies!

Instead of getting panicky about the idea of negative comments about you being posted there, use this instead as an opportunity to collect stories from your supporters, in their own words, about how fabulous you are.

Here is how you can take advantage of this: Go to the  GreatNonprofits Welcome Page for nonprofits and set up your account. This will let you add text, photos, video, etc. to your page. Then email all of your fervent supporters the comment link and ask them to write a little blurb for you.

Project Homeless Connect in San Francisco is the most reviewed nonprofit on the site today and it looks like nearly all of the reviews were written by volunteers. On their website, in the menu, is a link called “Tell Your Story” that goes directly to the GreatNonprofits page. GreatNonprofits also gives you a badge that you can put on your site to collect and promote your reviews, if you want to take it up a notch. You can also use the reviews in other marketing pieces by simply identifying them as “ User Reviews.”

How long will it be before the average donor knows where to go to check for reviews? Still quite awhile, I bet. But why not get out front and use GreatNonprofits and GuideStar to present positive testimonials to prospective donors and to reinforce the great work you are doing with your current supporters?

Thanks to @rosettathurman‘s retweet of @boardsource for the tip that led to this post. For more, also see Tactical Philanthropy’s recent post on Sharing Information to Drive Impact