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.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

8.8 Earthquake In Chile Sets Off Tsunamis

This morning, a major earthquake rocked Chile killing more then 100 people and damaging many buildings and roadways The earthquake also prompted tsunami warnings throughout the Pacific basin, including Hawaii.

Most officials predict that the destruction and loss of life will not be as extensive as it was in Haiti, but the area will probably need some assistance from international charities. At this point in time, we know that the following charities are planning to provide some sort of aid in Chile:

But before you give, be sure to review our tips for giving in times of crisis which we recently published in response to those who wanted to donate to Haiti relief efforts.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Idol Wants You To Give To Haiti Tonight

Tonight's American Idol show will feature Kris Allen (Season 8 winner). He'll be singing and sharing footage from his trip to Haiti. Viewers will have the opportunity to support the relief efforts in Haiti by making a text donation or an online donation to the Idol Gives Back Foundation. The money will then be directed to the UN Foundation to support their work in Haiti.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The 20 Best Money Web sites Includes Charity Navigator!

Money Magazine has release a list of the 20 Best Money Web Sites. This list includes well-known and useful sites like Morningstar, LinkedIn and PriceGrabber. Charity Navigator is thrilled to announce that we also made the list!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

All in the Family--Instilling a Culture of Philanthropy

When a donor recently responded to a thank you we sent her for her contribution, we also learned of another great example of how older generations are successfully educating their kids and grandkids about philanthropy. For holiday gifts for their grandchildren, this couple decided to send 2 checks to each of them--$40 total for the younger ones and $80 total for those 18 and over. They were to select two charities that they wanted to support, fill in the "pay to the order of" blanks and put in the mail.

Needless to say, we were delighted to be the recipient of one of the children's gifts. Mrs. H also noted in her reply, "I am glad that one of the children donated to Charity Navigator. I had included a note in the gift card: 'When in doubt go to CharityNavigator.org'." Many thanks, Mrs. H, for underscoring what we are here for and also allowing us to pass on this great idea for instilling the spirit of philanthropy in our children. No gift is more rewarding than that of giving to others.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Not One Dime

This article in the New York Post proves our point- that it can be risky to invest your disaster giving in a new charity. In this instance, the people that were supposed to benefit from one Katrina fund said "we never got a dime." Remember this example as you make your donations to groups assisting in Haiti.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tailored Technologies Teams-Up with Charity Navigator

Starting this month, Tailored Technologies, a full-service management consulting and technology firm headquartered in New York City, will be providing pro-bono services to Charity Navigator as we work to enhance our rating system. We are grateful for the opportunity to tap into the expertise and talent of Tailored Technologies!
You can learn more about Tailored Technologies and its efforts to help nonprofits increase efficiency and reduce operating expenses on its site: http://www.tailtech.com/.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How Much Charities Have Spent In Haiti

Last week, was the one month anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti. And ABC World News took a look at how charitable donations are being spent. Specifically, they report that 69% of the money raised, or $325 million, has not yet been spent on aid in Haiti. The report includes an interview with Charity Navigator's president & CEO, Ken Berger, who makes the point that charities are probably intentionally saving some of the money for Haiti's future needs. As you watch this report, remember our final diaster giving tip "Do Not Expect Immediate Results, But Do Keep Tabs On What Your Donation Accomplishes."

Friday, February 12, 2010

Print PSA

Recently, we shared a video PSA from Direct Relief International for support for their work in Haiti. Here's the print version of that PSA.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Celebrating Charities That Get It Right When It Comes To Respecting Their Donors' Wishes

As we've discussed many times before on this blog (including here, here, here, here, and here), donors are concerned when charities start sending them numerous appeals. Much of the feedback posted by donors on our site, reveals donors' fears that their donations are being spent on more solicitations rather than the programs and services that they had hoped to support.

At Charity Navigator we recognize that charities do need to ask for support and that many charities do so in a respectful way. But, there are still some that send too many appeals. So, we encourage donors to contact their favorite charities and share their preferences for receiving appeals. This can lead to a win-win situation in which the charity spends less on fundraising and the donor feels respected as evident by the following donor's comment:

"At the end of every year I sort out the many envelopes from organizations asking for money, and the ones that send the most spam usually don't get any of my dollars. I know that Americares uses their dollars pretty well, but I did complain about the number of pleas I received, and they not only cut them down to one or two a year, but I now am contacted by phone by one particular person in the organization once or twice a year. It makes gift giving much more personal, and I don't have to wade through their paperwork!"

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Listen To Last Week's Webinar Online

In case you missed last week's webinar, The Overhead Question: The Future of Nonprofit Assessment and Reporting, which entailed a conversation with Charity Navigator's Ken Berger and other representatives of the nonprofit community about the evolution of charity evaluation you can hear it now.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Charities Start To Receive $$ From The Haiti Telethon

The January 22, star-studded telethon for Haiti raised $66 million for the victims of the earthquake. (This is less than the $150 million raised during 9/11's "A Tribute to Heroes" telethon, but more than the $40 million raised after Hurricane Katrina's "Shelter from the Storm" telethon.) Last week, telethon organizers announced which charities would receive the first round of funding totaling $35 million:

A second round of funding will be allocated in May. That grant money will support rebuilding efforts. The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund is expected to receive some of that money.

Today's Video

In this video, Indiana's News Center investigative reporter, Ryan Elijah, recommends Charity Navigator as a good source for information about charities soliciting your support.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Haiti Giving: More About Wyclef Jean's Charity and Scams

When the earthquake hit Haiti and news organizations began reporting on the charities responding, we at Charity Navigator were surprised that so many news outlets were recommending donors give to Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti Foundation. Yes, a celebrity founded the charity, but does that automatically make it worthy of your support? This charity is a relatively new organization and it has no experience dealing with a disaster of this magnitude. As we say in our tips, charities that haven’t done this type of work before, even those with the best intentions, will have a hard time providing efficient and effective aid. We’re not the only skeptics of this group as New York Times Philanthropy reporter Stephanie Strom points out in her article about Yele Haiti.

After the Haiti earthquake last month, we immediately began posting tips to help donors avoid scams. We knew from Hurricane Katrina that whenever there is a massive outpouring of generosity, there is also an outpouring of scam artists who attempt to steal well-meaning donors’ identity and money. USA Today’s Peter Eisler reports that the FBI has already received 170 complaints about Haiti fundraising scams. His article includes several warnings that all donors need to keep in mind.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Super Bowl 44

Super Bowl 44 will be played this Sunday with the New Orleans Saints taking on the Indianapolis Colts. Many people with gather together that day to sit and relax in front of the TV and watch the game. The Super Bowl of course is a huge day for advertisements and many enjoy watching the commercials more than the game. This year it has been reported that a 30 second commercial aired during the Super Bowl costs $3 million.

A recent article that Charity Navigator was quoted in asks "what if an ad was run to promote charitable giving or what if that $3 million was given to a charity instead of to CBS?"

In fact, Pepsi will not be running an ad for the first time in 23 years and instead they will be pledging $20 million in grants to a social media campaign.

Just some "extra" food for thought as you watch the game and eat your Buffalo Wings! Enjoy the game....and the commercials too!

Mickey Mouse & His Friends Want You To Volunteer

Uncle Sam will not let you deduct your volunteering on your taxes, but in 2010 Disney is offering one free day at their theme parks for anyone who spends one day volunteering. On the site of their newly launched "Give a Day. Get a Disney Day" program you'll find a tool, run by the 4-star Hands On Network, to help you locate a volunteer opportunity in your area.

If this inspires you to want to give more of your time, then check out Charity Navigator's Guide To Volunteering.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

February Newsletter

Our monthly newsletter went to subscribers yesterday. If you haven't signed up to receive our newsletters, you can do so here. And you can view February's newsletter here.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hobbs Foundation Funds The Analysis Of More Charities

The Hobbs Foundation believes in the importance of bringing accountability and transparency to the philanthropic sector. According to Russ Hobbs, president of the Hobbs Foundation, “Charity Navigator’s evaluations not only help donors make better informed decisions, but also benefit charities by shining the lights on the most effective children’s organizations. We are thrilled to be able to support the philanthropic community through our partnership with Charity Navigator.”

And what a partnership! Thanks to funding from the Hobbs Foundation, we’ve added 20 charities to our site this month and more than 125 charities since our relationship began in 2004. It is a pleasure to work with a foundation that is as committed to educating and encouraging donors to give generously as we are.

If you are interested in partnering with us to provide additional charity evaluations for your community or for a specific charitable cause, we hope you will not hesitate toplease contact us at development@charitynavigator.org.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Obama Budget and Charitable Contributions

President Obama's latest budget (for fiscal 2011) includes the controversial proposal of lowering the amount those in the highest tax brackets can deduct for charitable contributions. As you probably remember, this idea was floated last year and was met with great resistance from many in the non-profit community. Charity Navigator President, Ken Berger, was quoted in regards to this issue on CNN last year. As the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports, this policy coupled with the increase in overall tax brackets, will cause the wealthy to have to pay more in taxes while at the same time getting less of a benefit from their charitable giving.

Monday, February 1, 2010

February 1st Update

Our February 1st update includes new evaluations for over 350 charities, including Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Concern Worldwide US, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Bridges for Peace, the Fistula Foundation, and Heart Support of America.

In cooperation with the Hobbs Foundation, we have also added 20 charities to our website that benefit children in need that are located in the South.

As always, our latest Top 10 lists are available to view as well.If you have not done so already, be sure to sign up for our free, monthly, email newsletters so that you can automatically be notified about our updates.

Donations for Haiti Now Exceed $528 Million

The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently reported that Haiti donations have now topped $528 million. The report states that although Haiti giving has outpaced the responses to the 9/11 attacks and the Tsunami in Asia it is still behind the pace of hurricane Katrina giving.

It is also expected that while individual donations will now begin to slow down, donations from corporations will continue to come in and add to the totals.

Also noted, was that the American Red Cross has brought in $29 million through phone text donations. That amount is significant when comparing it to the $200,000 that was received via text in the 2008 hurricane season.