All those magazine rankings out there — of the best hospitals, best doctors or best sushi bars — are popular but often highly suspect if not downright absurd due to organizations manipulating the evaluation process, weird and arbitrary criteria or just plain old sloppiness.
That said, Wikimedia Foundation has been ranked number one by Global Journal’s listing of the top 100 NGOs (non-governmental organizations).
Global Journal is a Geneva-based magazine aimed at becoming the insider’s guide to what it describes as the “global issues” scene. It also says at its (pricey) subscription site online that it is devoted to promoting “global governance.” Not sure that’s likely to sell too well in the U.S.
I do appreciate the Wikimedia Foundation, and its primary product Wikipedia. But is the online encyclopedia really more influential as a global issues player or doing more to make the world the better place than, say, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation or World Vision?
Neither of these two local mega-NGOs made the Journal’s list. I asked Global Journal to explain this, but haven’t heard back yet. Still, a few other Seattle-based or Northwest organizations did make the grade.
PATH was ranked by Global Journal as the 6th best NGO in the world — preceded by Partners in Health, Oxfam, BRAC (Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee) and the International Rescue Committee. Other local organizations on the best 100 NGOs list included Mercy Corps and Landesa.
Maybe the Gates Foundation didn’t make the cut because it’s as big as many governments and so doesn’t qualify. What the hell is an NGO anyway? The folks at Global Journal, to their credit, acknowledged having trouble with the categorical term NGO. Here’s what they decided an NGO was:
We defined NGOs as operational or advocacy focused non-profit organizations organized on a local, national or international level.
No, you’re right. That doesn’t really help much.
Anyway, congrats to local winners PATH, Mercy Corps and Landesa. Regrets to the Gates Foundation and World Vision. Maybe you’ll make the list next year.
Second Update from Global Journal’s Kalagas:
FIRST UPDATE: A response from Global Journal’s Alexis Kalagas: