My post on the GiveWell Project and Blog sparked a flurry of comments, posts and emails. I found the most interesting response to be “When Blogging Sucks” on the NTEN Blog, which referred to my post and the GiveWell post before saying:
I’m a big believer in blogs. They are a great outlet for sharing, tips, tricks, ideas, experiences, knowledge, and INFORMED opinions. Lately though, I feel like there’s a lot of UNINFORMED opinion sharing going on. There are more and more bloggers embracing the role of "watchdog" who are misprepresenting organizations (like my own!) who are just trying to do good. It’s not right…
Here’s the deal: most nonprofits are doing their very best to serve their communities every single day in an open and transparent way. Their web sites can not possible reflect everything about them. We have a responsiblity to be open and transparent, but you – watchdog bloggers – have a responsibility to get off your lazy you know whats and do your homework.
Ask us questions. Then make your judgements.
Here’s the thing, the GiveWell team is made up of donors. They are not “self appointed watch dogs”. When I said, “It doesn’t matter” if the GiveWell team is experienced or if they use the correct “tone” when they write, I meant that they are the donors that nonprofits have to deal with. Note that after the GiveWell blog blasted Network for Good, Katya Andresen (Network for Good’s head of marketing, who blogs at Nonprofit Marketing Blog) stopped by to give her side of the argument. She thanked the GiveWell team and said she wanted to encourage further discussion. Katya has written the very well received book Robin Hood Marketing. I’d bet she doesn’t recommend telling your donors (or customers) that they “suck” if you don’t agree with them.
I’ll let the GiveWell team respond to the NTEN post on their own. But I’ll note that on the front page of their wiki it says in bold “generosity and good intentions are helpful but not sufficient” and I would point out to the NTEN post author that GiveWell is an example of donors who are trying very hard to “do homework” and “ask questions” before making their judgments.
I find the GiveWell Project so intriguing because it is created by and for donors. Or as Maryann Devine at SmArts & Culture commented:
GiveWell is the first piece of cooperative, donor-created social media on philanthropy research that I’ve heard of. It really can’t be denied: the donors are in charge now.
Does anyone know of any other “donor-created social media on philanthropy research”? If so, let me know.