The general perception of what’s “best” evolves over time. It’s also subject to varying opinions and interpretations. In some fields of work there’s no official endorsement of best practices, and a shortage of hard data to judge “bestness.” Nonprofit management is such a profession. While this leaves lots of space for creativity, it also carries a dark side: conventional wisdom can pump up practices that may not actually work.
Charity Navigator (CN) is a prominent evaluator of nonprofit organizations, and publishes ratings for the purpose of informing donors. PIMG has examined CN's rating system in depth, and we found deep flaws and inconsistencies. As it stands, CN's ratings are not valid indicators of nonprofit performance. More troubling, however, is the sector's willingness to accept unsound "standards."
There’s a myth in our culture that more information is better. More can be better, but only to a point. If you know nothing, you’re usually at a disadvantage. But if you are overloaded with information, you may be worse off than knowing nothing. You don’t need more information, you need the right information.