Many directories online will list a business and address information about that business for a fee. Many nonprofits, parks, schools, churches, and other organizations don't go hunting for fee-based directories to be listed within. Unfortunately, many nonprofits also don't have websites, or don't display their address information prominently. So address information for nonprofits can be sparse.
When a nonprofit relies upon volunteers, donations, vendors, and making it easy for visitors to come to their offices, it could be really helpful for information about that organization to be found easily at places like Google Maps, or Yahoo Local. My experiences searching for nonprofits shows that many are almost invisible when it comes to these mapping programs.
A program like Google Maps collects information about the locations of organizations at specific locations from telecom data that they purchase, from directories online, and from crawling websites.
I wonder, looking at the text on the Google Local Business Cnter, how inviting that page might be to nonprofits:
Use the Local Business Center to create your free listing. When potential customers search Maps for local information, they'll find your business: your address, hours of operation, even photos of your storefront or products. It's easy, free, and you don't need a website of your own.
Would it be painful for Yahoo Local to add a nonprofit section to their list of categories?
Or for Ask City to make it clearer that they will show nonprofits?
Microsoft's Maps Live does have a "Government and Communities" section that lists charitable organizations. It's not really clear how someone might add information about one, though.
Wouldn't it be interesting if the search engines did something to make it easier for nonprofits to list their location information, or at least make it seem like that information was welcomed?