Welcome to Charity Navigator's Blog!

The team from Charity Navigator, the nation's largest independent charity evaluator and leading donor advocate, shares their thoughts on emerging nonprofit-sector issues and offers tips to better inform your intelligent giving decisions.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Donations Remain Steady in 2007

While the housing market, rising gas and food prices, and overall economic downturn are taking their toll on the American people, Giving USA Foundation’s analysis of 2007 giving data shows that the amount of money donated during the year increased 1% (when adjusted for inflation) to $306 billion dollars. This marks the first time in history that the $300 billion mark has been broken, and the first time since 2001 that giving to each analyzed sector has increased over the previous year.

However, even though these numbers might look promising, as we have mentioned before, charities will face many challenges in 2008, with an increased demand for their services, and less donations coming in.

You can view the Giving Statistics on our website, and we hope they inspire you to donate to one of your favorite 4 star organizations.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Charity News Roundup

Here are some charity news stories from the past week.

  • Giving USA 2008, researched and written by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, reports that Charitable Giving Topped $306 Billion in 2007. However, there are signs that charitable donations will decline in 2008.
  • Today is Bill Gates last day at Microsoft as a full time employee. He will be dedicating his time to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. One of his first stops this summer is China, where the foundation is launching a new program to help the country cut tobacco use.
  • Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston , MA spoke at a conference hosted by New England Blacks in Philanthropy urging leaders to raise more money to educate Boston’s youth.
  • Charities have raised at least $16.3-million to help the victims of the floods in the Midwest of which $13 million has gone to the American Red Cross.
  • Beware of scams: A 13-year old girl is expected to face charges for scamming hundreds of dollars from business people with a fake charity story.
  • President Bush is working to help religious charities get government grants through the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A New Leader for Charity Navigator

We’re thrilled to welcome Kenneth A. Berger as Charity Navigator’s new President.

Having worked in the nonprofit sector for nearly thirty years, Mr. Berger has a solid record of leadership positions at a variety of human services charities. He has a passion for helping nonprofits excel with a special talent for guiding charities through expansion and change. Under his leadership, Mr. Berger will work to ensure that Charity Navigator continues to be innovative, creative, and well-respected in its efforts to guide intelligent giving.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Charity News Roundup

In case you missed it, here are some of the charity headlines making news this week:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Helping Victims of the Midwest Floods

By now, we have all seen the news reports regarding the devastating floods in the Midwest, and unfortunately, more flooding has been predicted. The area impacted by this natural disaster is very large in size, and the fall out from the flooding has been felt by all (some charities ordinarily ready to assist their community have even been adversely affected). The Red Cross is participating in relief efforts, and appealing for contributions, as are many other local charities. If you feel compelled to assist the flood victims in the Midwest, we urge you to consider one of the following highly rated Charity Navigator charities: United Way of Central Iowa, United Way of East Central Iowa, and the Humane Society of Missouri. To find all our charities in Iowa, click here. All charities in Missouri are listed here.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Charity News Roundup

In case you missed it, here are some of the charity headlines making news this week:

  • Many charities will feel the impact of the worsening economy over the coming months. These charities will gladly hear about a church initiative for people to donate 10% of their economic stimulus checks.
  • Celebrities are doing their part as well, with New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Pamela Anderson making donations to the causes close to their heart. A handwritten Harry Potter prequel garnered close to $50,000 at a charitable auction, while Anne Hathaway has received some attention regarding the investigation into her boyfriend’s charity.
  • A food pantry in New York City is using technology to show its clients the respect they deserve.
  • A recent contribution of Grateful Dead memorabilia has sparked the warning for donors to be careful before parting with their prized possessions, since, as a donor of a different kind recently found out, the donations can have unexpected consequences.
  • International aid has been promised to Afghanistan, amidst concern of corruption interfering, while Myanmar still does not trust aid coming from the United States.
  • Meanwhile, local organizations in the region struck by Hurricane Katrina are questioning FEMA regarding the $85 million in surplus in supplies that has not been handed out.
  • Finally, smaller foundations have gained in popularity recently, while an organization in Seattle is preparing the future generation of donors.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Paul Newman Is Even Greater Than You Already Thought

Paul Newman’s involvement in philanthropy through Newman’s Own is no secret. Paul Newman receives all the profits and royalties from Newman’s Own, Inc. and then makes personal contributions to charities of his choice. According to news sources, Newman has donated over $120 million to his Foundation between 2005 and 2006. While Paul Newman reportedly is fighting a courageous battle with lung cancer, we would like to focus your attention on some of the organizations rated by Charity Navigator that Mr. Newman is actively involved with. You can review them by clicking here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

June is National Hunger Awareness Month

In this video, program analyst Leonie Giles talks a bit about this topic and highlights some highly-rated charities to help you give with confidence to charities committed to conquering hunger.

Monday, June 9, 2008

New Report Released on Human Trafficking

The U.S. Department of State just released the 2008 Trafficking in Persons Report, which is submitted to Congress annually to highlight recent accomplishments and the efforts made by foreign governments to eliminate the severest forms of human trafficking.

While the report reiterates the complexity of the problem, as well as its devastating consequences, some findings of the report may surprise you.

  • While you may know that approximately 80 percent of transnational victims are women and girls, did you know that boys and men can also be victims of sexual trafficking, and women can be exploiters as well?
  • While traditional forms of trafficking still dominate, the use of technology such as cell phones, text messaging, chat rooms and the internet as well as social media and networking (used to land victims, as well as recruit clients) are becoming more prevalent.
  • Sometimes formerly trafficked victims turn into recruiters, luring others into the horrors that they themselves have experienced.
  • Some people who engage in child sex tourism hold positions of trust and respect in their own countries. (There have been cases involving a pediatrician, retired army sergeant, dentist, and university professor in the U.S. alone.) Some of them even think that they’re doing their victims a favor by providing them with a livelihood.
  • In Shenzen, China, a man can earn $30-40,000 per year by forcing children to beg.

If you’re passionate about bringing an end to the horrific practice of trafficking in humans, then you may want to check out Charity Navigator’s recently updated Hot Topic: Charities Building Roadblocks to Human Trafficking. Here we highlight some of the worst forms of human trafficking, as well as charities working to raise awareness, prevent abuses and care for victims.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Charity News Roundup

A digest of news stories from the week ending Friday, June 6.

As the presidential race narrowed to two candidates this week, nonprofits showed up in stories from both camps:

Controversy continues to dog the American Red Cross, as their program to aid the victims of tornados in Iowa drew criticism from Iowa senator Charles E. Grassley.

We note with sadness the passing of Anne d’Harnoncourt, director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The troubled economy is a concern to many nonprofits across the country, as exemplified by these stories from Boston, Massachusetts and Columbus, Ohio. However, there are also positive aspects to the situation, as we see in this story from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Finally, we are pleased to note that grassroots charity is alive and well and making a difference in the world. See what kids all over the country are doing to combat the problem of malaria in Africa, as reported in the New York Times.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Historic Preservation: More Than Just Fixing Up Old Buildings

The National Trust for Historic Preservation recently released its 2008 List of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. The list includes important historical and cultural landmarks across the country, places that are facing uncertain futures. In a time when most donors are concerned with helping people in need, organizations working to restore and preserve historic sites may have a tougher time getting necessary funding. But before you write off this cause as unworthy, consider the long-term implications of losing these places. Also, keep in mind that historic preservation can have a significant economic impact on a local area, ultimately helping the people who live there.

If you're moved to contribute to this cause, we recommend that you use our site to do your research before giving to ensure that your contributions go to well-run organizations. While not all of the endangered historic sites have a corresponding charity featured on Charity Navigator, if you are interested in the broader issue of historic preservation, you can support the National Trust for Historic Preservation (a highly rated charity) or browse a list of charities working to preserve historic landmarks here.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Best and Worst Cities for Nonprofit Efficiency

For 6 years, Charity Navigator has published a Metro Market Study to help donors and nonprofit leaders understand how regional differences impact the ability of charities to efficiently fulfill their missions. This year, the philanthropic communities in Miami, San Diego and Houston came out on top whereas those in Detroit, Indianapolis and Baltimore fell to the bottom of the rankings.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Keep Giving Even When the Market Is Down

Vanguard’s Charitable Endowment Program is encouraging philanthropists to keep giving despite the current economic slump. An article they published earlier this spring offers tips for maximizing the tax benefits of giving even when the market is down.