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Culture & Community

Learn more about an organization's overall culture and its connectedness to the constituents and community it serves.

 
 
Culture & Community Header Image
Culture & Community beacon

Gain insight into a nonprofit's culture and commitment to fostering strong connections within their community

To provide donors with more information to guide their philanthropic decision-making, we've launched the Culture & Community beacon. The current version of the Culture & Community beacon is focused the following assessments:

  • Constituent Feedback: an assessment of the extent to which the organization collects and utilizes feedback from their beneficiaries in order to improve program outcomes. Learn more about the methodology.
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI): an assessment of the extent to which the organization implements practices that contribute to an equitable, diverse, and inclusive culture within the organization and the communities they serve. Learn more about the methodology.

Background

In July 2020, we launched the Encompass Rating System to ensure our ratings are more inclusive of nonprofits of all sizes and to provide a more comprehensive assessment of a nonprofit’s total impact.

The first version of the Culture & Community beacon was launched in March 2021 in collaboration with feedback experts and leading nonprofit infrastructure platforms, collectively referred to as the "Irritants." Just a year later, we began scoring organizations’ Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) practices in partnership with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center and data collection via Candid. 

Throughout the process, we have conducted extensive literature reviews and have consulted with a number of nonprofit and for-profit experts to inform the methodology. As we continue to increase the depth and breadth of our ratings, the Culture & Community beacon will grow to evaluate more factors related to community connectedness and the health of an organization's culture, including people operations/HR and reputation.

Why Focus on Culture & Community

The importance of implementing practices that contribute positively to an organization’s overall culture, both internally and with respect to community engagement, has drawn much attention from donors, experts, and sector leaders who underscore its value to the nonprofit’s overall health and capacity for mission success.

Leveraging Culture & Community Scores to Inform Giving

Screenshot of Encompass rating

Donors can use the information provided by the Culture & Community beacon to gain insight into how nonprofit organizations listen to their constituents, utilize the feedback collected to foster impactful programs and services, and sustain a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace culture. Depending on the amount of data provided, the Culture & Community beacon’s weight on organizations’ overall Encompass scores will vary. View the How We Assess Culture & Community section to learn more >>

Note: Organizations assessed through our Star Rating System can earn Culture & Community beacons, but the scores do not currently affect the overall star rating. However, the Culture & Community beacon does provide full transparency to donors about their feedback and DEI practices.

Nonprofits with Constituent Feedback Practices

At launch, more than 4,800 nonprofits have earned a Community & Culture beacon. Here are just a few nonprofits identified as having feedback practices on Charity Navigator:

How We Assess Culture & Community

Nonprofit leaders were asked to complete relevant surveys and questionnaires through Candid, detailing their practices in the areas evaluated. Organizations can earn a Culture & Community beacon by providing sufficient data for the Constituent Feedback and/or the DEI sections. We weight the metrics and their relative contribution to the overall Encompass score based upon published research and analyses, and in consultation with experts and sector leaders.

Constituent Feedback

The methodology leveraged for Constituent Feedback, is based on The Core Principles of Constituent Feedback, which describes what it means to listen and respond to feedback well. The feedback experts and leading nonprofit infrastructure platforms driving the advancement, promotion, and data collection of Constituent Feedback are collectively referred to as the Irritants — they include Charity Navigator, Feedback Labs, Candid, GlobalGiving, Keystone Accountability, 60 Decibels, Bridges Fund Management, Development Gateway, Listen4Good/Fund for Shared Insight, Outsell Inc, Jessie Ball duPont Fund, and the BBB Wise Giving Alliance.

An organization can earn 100 points if they submit data via the How We Listen questionnaire in recognition of their willingness to be fully transparent.

  • Scoring:
    • At this time, nonprofits are not faulted and their scores are not negatively impacted if they do not provide data for this metric.
    • Although the data is not evaluated for quality at this time, future iterations of this beacon will include data that will serve to validate the information provided by the nonprofit.
    • A score on this metric can lead to an overall score for this beacon and is weighted as follows:
      • 100% when no other metric is present
      • 30% when combined with the DEI metric

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Practices

The development process for DEI methodology included surveying donors; reviewing literature on the value of DEI practices in the private and nonprofit sectors; interviewing leaders across the charitable sector; and conducting three rounds of listening sessions facilitated by external consultant Center for Urban and Racial Equity.

This exploration highlighted a set of equity policies and practices that are shown to enhance a nonprofit’s decision-making, staff motivation, innovation, and effectiveness. We've partnered with Candid to collect preliminary data on a set of these equity practices to better understand the current state of these practices. Nonprofit organizations are encouraged to fill out the Equity Strategies on the Demographics section of their Candid profiles.

  • Data:
    • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
    • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and/or portfolios.
    • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
    • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
    • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
    • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured
    • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
  • Policies and Processes:
    • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
    • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
    • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
    • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
    • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
    • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
  • Scoring
    • In order to earn a score for this metric, organizations must indicate adoption of 3 or more practices outlined in the Equity Strategies checklist located in the Demographics section of their Candid profile page.
      • Scores are awarded as follows:
        • 3-6 practices = 80 points
        • 7-10 practices = 90 points
        • 11+ practices = 100 points
      • At this time, nonprofits are not faulted and their scores are not negatively impacted if they do not provide data for this metric.
      • Future iterations of this beacon (which will be informed by further consultation throughout 2022) will assess nonprofits adoption of a greater number of DEI practices, and include data that will serve to validate the information provided by the nonprofit.
    • A score on this metric can lead to an overall score for this beacon and is weighted as follows:
      • The score awarded based upon the breakdown above when no other metric is present
      • 70% of the value of the score awarded for this metric when combined with the Constituent Feedback metric
  • When no other beacon is scored: At this time, an organization cannot earn an overall Encompass rating with only a Culture & Community score.
  • When the only other beacon scored is Leadership & Adaptability: At this time, an organization cannot earn an overall Encompass rating without scores on Finance & Accountability and/or Impact & Results.
  • When combined with either a Finance & Accountability OR an Impact & Results score: This beacon is worth 10% of the overall Encompass rating when DEI is scored; 5% when DEI is not scored.
  • When combined with scores for Finance & Accountability and Leadership & Adaptability: This beacon is worth 10% of the overall Encompass rating when DEI is scored; 5% when DEI is not scored.
  • When combined with scores for Finance & Accountability, Impact & Results, and Leadership & Adaptability: This beacon is worth 10% of the overall Encompass rating when DEI is scored; 5% when DEI is not scored.
 
 

 

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