Most of this type of analysis is based - loosely or not - on financial analysts reviews' of companies and industries. They review financial information, performance metrics, measures of social return (these last two being particularly subject to dispute), and others. How to review nonprofits is an emerging specialty, full of (important) methodological disagreement and debate.
Today, I received a press announcement of two new vice presidential appointments at The Foundation Center that made me realize one area that seems particularly weak when it comes to reviewing nonprofits - executive personnel. The Foundation Center announced the appointment of Anjula Duggal as its vice president for marketing and communications. Ms. Duggal's prior experience includes:
"...chief marketing & communications officer of the nonprofit Count Me In. Previously, she served as vice president for marketing & site operations at Retailer Networks Inc., oversaw the day-to-day marketing and operations for GiftandHomeChannel.com, and held marketing positions at both Sony Music and Universal Music. She has led web-based expansion initiatives and e-commerce operations, built online brands, provided business-to-business marketing solutions, and orchestrated small business membership programs."
All of this signals - fairly clearly, in my opinion - a clear commitment by The Foundation Center to get its products and services onto social networks, recognized in online channels, and to seek new, interesting partnerships. This is great news and reflects well on the Center's plans, projections and current leadership.
If nonprofits were really reviewed for competitive advantage the way companies are reviewed by equity analysts, those reviews would dive into executive leadership, transitions, succession plans, and what they say about current and future plans. I don't know if the rating agencies and reviewers are planning to go this way or not, but this announcement from The Foundation Center is the kind of signal we should be seeking from organizations.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I know several board members and executives at The Foundation Center. I do not know Ms. Duggal.