Popular Blogger Challenges Nonprofit
blogger with a large audience has used his platform to challenge one of the nation’s
largest nonprofit organizations devoted to gay rights. In a series of posts, popular blogger Andrew
Sullivan, himself a gay man and equal rights advocate, has challenged the
effectiveness of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which describes itself as "America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and
to both the HRC Foundation’s Charity Navigator rating (with one out of four
stars overall and zero out of four stars for efficiency) as well as the
Foundation’s latest IRS 990 forms, Sullivan publicly challenged the
organization to respond to questions “about their operation, what it spends,
how it spends it, and what achievements they have won for the money.” He also encouraged readers to review the
financial information and submit their own questions.
be sure, Sullivan’s criticisms about the HRC not only about the
nonprofit’s fundraising and financial management; rather, he’s
questioning the nonprofit’s track record in achieving its stated
objectives of achieving equality.
HRC responded that they “are committed to the transparency of the organization.
Ninety-three percent of our total income comes from individuals, reflecting the
importance of our work as seen by the broader community, and it is important
they understand how their dollars are being put to work.” The nonprofit then went on to detail how the
expenses from their recent capital campaign – to raise money for a headquarters
building in Washington, D.C. – was the reason for their low rating.
a gay-rights organization with nearly 600,000 members now has to answer to a
gay-rights blogger who has an estimated 60,000 daily readers. This episode raises the power of blogs and
other new technologies, which are forcing nonprofits to be more open about
their operations, holding them accountable not only to their financial supporters,
but also an increasingly skeptic (and engaged) public.
Is this the future of nonprofit transparency? Public fights online between multi-million dollar nonprofit organizations and self-styled online watchdogs?
Sullivan, the nonprofit has “asked for a private meeting with me. I’d rather
bring a few thousand readers along.”