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Evaluating the Charity Evaluators

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Evaluating the Charity Evaluators: How CharityWatch, BBB's Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Givewell and Guidestar's Philanthropedia Help (and Hurt) our Clients
Presenter: Susan Edwards Colson, New York Community Trust's Westchester Community Foundation
Thursday, April 24 | 3:30 pm

After coaching donors to develop their personal mission statement, consider working with other like-minded donors and solidify their level of financial and volunteer support, their next question was inevitably "what organizations are doing a good job now?" This question bring donors into the often confusing world of charity rating services. Each service has taken a different approach to rating nonprofits. In our increasing data-driven world, a good, basic understanding of what the various rating services are trying to accomplish is an important service we can provide to our donors and clients.

Susan Edwards Colson is dedicated to establishing charitable funds that support individuals and groups making a difference. She collaborates with donors, staff, board and community to set the strategic direction for each fund and makes sure that each fund is accomplishing all it can. Her various roles with Westchester Community Foundation include supporting each constituency thoughtfully and carefully to further their respective ideals and mission. This includes managing the day-to-day development, marketing, and communications for the Foundation (a local division of the $2.3B New York Community Trust). She is thoroughly familiar with the planned giving techniques that allow donors do accomplish more than they thought was possible.

She is an attorney and Certified Public Accountant. She was the chief development officer for Daeman College, Amherst, New York and Mercy Hospital Foundation, Buffalo, New York. In those roles, she worked with donors and coordinated volunteers and professional staff efforts while overseeing a comprehensive network of fund raising activities. This included arranging annual giving, capital giving and grant managements as well as tribute and memorial gifts.

She has taught business law, accounting and taxation at Ohio Northern University, Ohio State University and Daeman College. She is a frequent lecturer on charitable giving and the legal topics surrounding fundraising and nonprofits. She developed a course on complex grant writing at SUNY Purchase, and in Fall, 2013 presented a community class on "Impact Philanthropy: How You Can Save the World."

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