Missions Place Nonprofit Brands Atop World Value Index

Nine of the top 10 organizations listed in the 2018 edition of Enso’s World Value Index, a ranking of how inspired consumers are by brands, were nonprofits. The for-profits that ranked highest tended to be those with a charitable purpose.

When it comes to the organizations that people most admire for their missions, nonprofits win out nine times out of 10.

According to the latest edition of Enso’s World Value Index, released Wednesday, nine of the top 10 entries on the list—and roughly half of the top 50—were either nonprofits like the Red Cross and the Girl Scouts of the USA or for-profit organizations with charitable missions, like Newman’s Own.

While a number of for-profit organizations made the top 50, only seven cracked the top 20. (Amazon, at 7, and Google, at 12, were the highest-ranking corporations.) Leading the list were some of the most well-known nonprofits in the United States, with the top five including:

  1. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
  2. Red Cross
  3. Salvation Army
  4. Goodwill
  5. Habitat for Humanity

Beyond charitable nonprofits, some associations made the list, including AAA at 32 and AARP at 50. National Geographic, the for-profit magazine of the nonprofit National Geographic Society, was ranked 13.

A longer version of the index, including 200 separate entries, further emphasized how trust—leading to engagement and support—attached more strongly to nonprofits than other kinds of organizations. The list included entries as diverse as Apple (68), the #MeToo movement (97), the American Family Association (110), the Democratic Party (136), BuzzFeed (176), and the Republican Party (184).

“Ideally, an organization’s mission inspires people to use their power—purchasing power and power to advocate—to actively support the brand,” Enso cofounder Sebastian Buck wrote in a Medium post. “Wikipedia inspired people to use their power; Encyclopedia Britannica did not. National Geographic is inspiring people to love their environment; Monsanto is not.”

(Speaking of Medium, it was near the bottom of the list, at 190.)

In comments to Fast Company, Buck added that the list highlights the role that basic functionality also played for many companies on the list. Amazon, despite lacking a charitable mission, ranked far above other companies that played up their social good, like Toms and Honest Company.

“In the early years, we thought that the Patagonias and Honest Companies and Toms of the world would score at the top of the list, but in reality, scale matters and convenience matters—just being useful to people,” Buck said.

(olm26250/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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