My grandfather was a civil engineer.
After he returned from building trenches, camps, and even a small chapel in Vietnam, he built himself a quaint workshop — adjacent to his garage — in a mountainous neighborhood called “Maunawili” in Kailua, Hawaii.
It was in this very workshop, about four decades later, that my grandfather chose to impart some wisdom to me.
We were building a doghouse for Stich, my family’s crazy mutt who was transitioning from an “indoor” dog to an “outdoor” one.
Chewing through that fifth Pier 1 throw pillow was the straw that broke my mother’s back...and sent Stich to the doghouse (I’m sorry, I had to).
“Measure twice; cut once,” Grandpa said. “You never want to be hasty when it comes to creating a piece that will serve as the foundation for something as important as your dog’s future home,” he added.
While I’ve yet to build a doghouse — or, heck, even use a circular saw — in the two decades since Grandpa and I built Stich’s abode, the notion of thinking carefully and critically before committing to a course of action (especially one that is next to impossible to undo) has remained ever-present. And it weighs even heavier when it comes to making any significant(ish) purchase.
The Growing Need for a Nonprofit Vendor Review Site
In 2004, two former PayPal employees, Jeremy Stoppelman and Russel Simmons, raised $1 million in funding for a glorified “email circle” that allowed friends to easily, and directly, swap business reviews.
They called it Yelp.
Yelp fundamentally changed the power dynamics between businesses and consumers. It inspired the popularization of ratings and reviews across products and services from a myriad of industries.
Today, 90% of consumers will consult reviews of a product or service before making a purchase — that’s a lot of folks who measure twice before they cut.
I have spent the last seven years working as a nonprofit marketing consultant. If I had a dollar for every time an organization shared a nightmarish story about a consultant/agency/software company/etc. royally screwing them over, I’d probably be writing this post from the Italian Riviera while sipping a glass of sangiovese instead of from cold, rural Massachusetts sipping Trader Joe’s tea.
Why We Built Candor
In spite of this shift in power dynamics and an increase in transparency between buyer and seller, there remains a dearth of knowledge — a fog, one might say — around the mix of tools, software, agencies, consultants, and membership associations that are best-suited to deliver success to your nonprofit.
And that’s precisely why we built Candor.
Candor was built to help nonprofit professionals make wise decisions about who they partner with.
It's sort of like Yelp, but instead of reviews on “top take-out places in rural Massachusetts with contactless experiences,” you get reviews on software companies, creative agencies, and consultants that work in the nonprofit space.
Or, perhaps a better, more contextual analogy here might be that Candor is like Charity Navigator but for the tools and vendors that surround and support charitable organizations.
Our mission is to help nonprofits discover and connect with the partner organizations that will empower them to do more good, better — to optimize their strategies, systems, and structures to prioritize program impact.
How We Hope Nonprofit Organizations Will Use Candor
By reading reviews on Candor, nonprofits will be able to garner deeper insight into the experience other, similar organizations have had with a vendor.
Imagine being able to read reviews on nonprofit CRM’s from an organization that works to fight breast cancer, with a staff of five full-time people, and an annual operating budget of $750,000 — one just like yours. This is so much more valuable than reading curated customer testimonials on the software company’s website!
Or perhaps you’re considering a new marketing and digital fundraising partner? Candor makes it remarkably easy to compare and contrast vendors who might seem quite similar after a cursory overview of their websites. Candor presents you with candid information from their current and former customers about project scope, ease of use, customer support, return on investment of the campaign or product purchase, and much more.
Ultimately, our hope is for Candor to be a bridge that helps connect the right strategic partners with organizations that they are uniquely qualified to help thrive. And vice versa.
Welcome to Candor – Honest Reviews For the Community, by the Community
At Novus, we believe in a world where fundraising, programming, donor acquisition, and donor engagement operate sustainably—a world with total transparency between partners and organizations where all wasted spend is eliminated and outcomes are maximized.
And we believe Candor will be an instrumental asset in helping us get there.
In the fast-moving, information-saturated, and ever-changing world we live in, the temptation to buy the shiniest new toy or select the most affordable solution can seem fantastically appealing.
But when making a decision about what agency to partner with, or what new software to add to your organization’s tech stack, it’s important to be discerning — to measure twice so you only have to cut once.
Welcome to Candor. Get started by reading reviews and writing one of your own!