Standards For Effectiveness: Identifying Effective Nonprofits To Support

If you’re reading this, you care about making the planet better. Since you want to spend your better-the-planet money wisely, I wrote this post to give you one way to choose effective nonprofits. My experiences with the National Organization for Women gave me a way to spend my better-the-planet money wisely.

In the late 1980s or early 1990s, I was a member of the National Organization for Women (NOW) for one year. It was a boring year of mostly doing little. I remember only three members at meetings, including the officers. I was not an officer. Somehow we decided to do a short documentary about reproductive rights. I quit the chapter before the documentary was finished. Years later I realized the documentary would have been preaching to the choir. We made three mistakes.

First, we did what we felt like doing.

Second, we did not consider who our audience should be.

Third, we did not consider what would be effective for reaching the audience we should be reaching.

After quitting the local chapter, I occasionally visited now.org to see what NOW was doing. In 2008, Kim Gandy was president of NOW. Whenever I visited the website I noticed “NOW President Kim Gandy” all over the home page. It seemed to me that NOW existed to promote Kim Gandy. Either that, or Kim Gandy was afraid website visitors would forget who she was if she didn’t repeatedly use her title.

Way before 2008, I had become disgusted with Gloria Steinem for her quote:

“The only alternative to feminism is masochism.”

I thought feminism was about the freedom to make my own choices.

I stopped calling myself a feminist because of Gloria Steinem. When I saw Kim Gandy’s name all over the home page of NOW’s website, I decided to do something about arrogant and glory seeking feminist leaders. I signed up for emails to collect evidence. By doing that, I accidentally discovered one way to identify ineffective social cause nonprofits. Because of the quotes from three NOW emails below, I am now able to set my own standards for supporting a social cause nonprofit.

To understand the implications of the three quotes, you need to understand how the National Organization for Women presents itself to the world. This quote is from the About page at now.org on August 12, 2019. The bold type is my addition.

“As the grassroots arm of the women’s movement, the National Organization for Women is dedicated to its multi-issue and multi-strategy approach to women’s rights, and is the largest organization of feminist grassroots activists in the United States. NOW has hundreds of chapters and hundreds of thousands of members and activists in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Since our founding in 1966, NOW’s purpose is to take action through intersectional grassroots activism to promote feminist ideals, lead societal change, eliminate discrimination, and achieve and protect the equal rights of all women and girls in all aspects of social, political, and economic life.”

The three emails below prove that NOW is falling far short of its claims.

Email Date
September 13, 2014

Email Subject Line
Haterade

Email Quote
“P.S. Thousands of you have already shown your support by signing our petition demanding that Roger Goodell resign.”

Email Signature
Terry O’Neill, President
National Organization for Women

Only “thousands” signed the petition out of “hundreds of thousands of members and activists”? Since O’Neill used only “thousands”, I assume that the total number of signatures was not even close to ten thousand.

NOW President Terry O’Neill failed to
persuade the majority of NOW members and activists to sign a petition.

~~~~~

Email Date
January 8, 2019

Email Subject Line
SIGN ON to Support the Paycheck Fairness Act by Wednesday at 2 PM

Email Quote
“Last year, over 70 NOW chapters signed on to support the Paycheck Fairness Act of the 115th Congress. This year, only two chapters have committed their support and the deadline is Wednesday!

Again, click here to support the Paycheck Fairness Act of the 115th Congress. Although the form lists a deadline of January 4th, we are told the deadline has been extended until Wednesday, January 9th at 2 PM. Please sign on IMMEDIATELY!“

Email Signature
Toni Van Pelt, President
National Organization for Women

Only 70 chapter in 2018 and 2 chapter in 2019 out of “hundreds of chapters” signed on to support the Paycheck Fairness Act.

For two years in a row, NOW President Toni Van Pelt failed to persuade the majority of NOW’s “hundreds of chapters” to sign on in support of the Paycheck Fairness Act. Her 2019 attempt was pitiful given that only two chapters signed up.

~~~~~

Email Date
July 2, 2019

Email Subject Line
We did it!

Email Quote
“We did it! We made our goal for our Stronger Together Spring Match campaign!

Cue balloons! Strike up the band! Start the party!

Well, perhaps not. There’s no time for celebrations—we’ve got work to do!

We have to stand up to Donald Trump and his extremist allies who want to repeal Roe v. Wade and enact the most horrendous abortion bans in the states. And thanks to our community, the dollar-for-dollar match turned $25,000 into $50,000!

If you didn’t get a chance to donate to Stronger Together, it’s not too late to help!“

Make your gift today to support women’s rights and happiness.

Email Signature
Toni Van Pelt, President
National Organization for Women

“Hundreds of thousands of members and activists” failed to donate money to support NOW’s Strong Together Spring Match Campaign.

$25,000 divided by 200,000 equals 13 cents.

$25,000 divided by 300,000 equals 8 cents.

$25,000 divided by 400,000 equals 6 cents.

$25,000 divided by 500,000 equals 5 cents.

NOW President Toni Van Pelt failed to persuade most of NOW’s “hundreds of thousands of members and activists” to donate money to NOW.

$25,000 divided by $5 equals 5.000 donating members.

$25,000 divided by $10 equals 2,500 donating members.

$25,000 divided by $15 equals 1,667 donating members.

$25,000 divided by $20 equals 1,250 donating members.

~~~~~

Emails from the National Organization for Women gave me at least two standards for identifying effective social cause nonprofits.

Effective Nonprofit Standard #1
I require evidence that the nonprofit’s own members are committed to the stated goal of the nonprofit. Obviously, NOW members and activists are not committed to promoting feminist ideals, leading societal change, eliminating discrimination, and achieving and protecting the equal rights of all women and girls in all aspects of social, political, and economic life.

Effective Nonprofit Standard #2
I require nonprofit leaders to be effective in persuasion for the cause of the nonprofit. NOW leaders are ineffective at persuading their own members to support the actions of the National Organization for Women. How is it possible that NOW leaders could persuade anyone necessary (legislators and courts) to create the changes they promise women?

In her Haterade email, NOW President Terry O’Neill also wrote this:

“I know that we can change our culture – which is so permissive of violence against women – and change our laws simultaneously.

How do I know that?

Because we’re the National Organization for Women and this is what we do – especially with supporters like you.”

The evidence shows that NOW President Terry O’Neill and the National Organization for Women are all talk and little — if any — do.

Before I support any social cause nonprofit, I will sign up for emails to look for evidence of effectiveness. Ineffective social cause nonprofits do not make the planet better.

Please explain your standards for choosing effective charities and nonprofits in the comments section below.