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.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Top Paying Nonprofit Jobs

Thinking of working in the nonproft sector? Here's some information that may help you select a type of nonprofit position. According to The NonProfit Times 2010 Annual Salary and Benefits report the 10 highest average paying jobs in the sector are:

  1. Chief Scientific Officer $211,550
  2. General Counsel $179,174
  3. Chief Medical Officer $152,078
  4. Physician $144,639
  5. Chancellor/President $134,207
  6. Psychiatrist $132,227
  7. Regional Vice President $129,376

  8. Chief Advocacy Officer $120,499
  9. Chief Information Officer $116,299
  10. Chief Executive Officer $115, 065

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hear Ken Speak at NextGen:Charity

On November 18 and 19, the movers and shakers of the philanthropy sector will be gathering in NYC at NextGen:Charity to discuss nonprofit innovation. Don't get left out in the dark!

Learn from speakers like our very own Ken Berger:

To thank you for following Charity Navigator's blog, we've partnered with NextGen to give you 20% off the conference ticket price. Register now.

Friday, October 22, 2010

NJ Nonprofits Save This Date

Sobel & Co.’s Nonprofit and Social Services Group will present its Annual Breakfast Symposium on January 12, 2011 from 8:00 am -11:30 am at the Woodbridge Hilton (Iselin, NJ). This year's theme is “Repositioning Your Nonprofit: Getting Ready for What’s to Come.” And guest speaker, Alex Plinio (from Rutgers University) will speak on “The Critical Role of Ethics for Nonprofit Leaders.”

To RSVP, contact Sally Glick at 973-994-9494 or sally.glick@sobel-cpa.com.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

We Won!

Thank you to everyone that voted for Charity Navigator's tagline, Your Guide To Intelligent Giving. Today, it was revealed that we won the 2010 Nonprofit Tagline Awards in our category.

Here's the analysis on why our tagline is a winner:
This tagline is unique and clear to its mission, and conveys an air of wisdom and refinement.

You immediately sense via the word “Guide” that the Charity Navigator service is an asset to you. The phrase “Intelligent Giving” feeds egos (who doesn’t want to be intelligent?) while it underscores the difficulty in wading through information to make an informed and wise giving choice.

Check out the video announcement.

Monday, October 18, 2010

What's In A Name?

Recently, one of our donors pointed out that two of our Top 10 lists had charities listed with similar names. One charity, Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust, appears on the list of 10 Highly Rated Charities Relying on Private Contributions. The other, Disabled Veterans Associations, has the unfortunate distinction of landing on the list of 10 Charities Overpaying their For-Profit Fundraisers. She was worried that potential donors would confuse the two and ultimately think less of the 4-star Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust because of the 0-star Disabled Veterans Association’s similar sounding name.
She should be worried and so should you! With 1 million charities in existence, there are, of course, going to be many that have similar names. This is why we ask those who submit charities for us to review to provide the charity’s unique EIN#. With so many similar names, if we were to just go by the charity’s name, then we couldn’t be certain that we’re taking a look at the charity the donor requested.

Even more troubling is that some people, with less than noble intentions, purposely establish new charities with similar names to well-known charities. Sadly, this is often a successful strategy for attracting donations. And that is why we warn donors to be careful of charities with sound-alike names.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Throwdown: Don't Start A Charity

If you follow our president & CEO's blog, then you know he and Dan Pallotta have been engaged in an ongoing debate about charity CEO pay (see here and here). Well Monday night at 8pm eastern they're going to take the debate from the blogosphere to the airwaves when they discuss the pros and cons of starting a new charity on The Stupid Cancer Show. Don't miss the fireworks!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Less Government Funding Flows To Groups Like Food Banks and Homeless Shelters

We've been warning for some time now (see here, here, here, here, here, here and here) that human services charities (food banks, youth programs, homeless services) can be especially hard hit in a down economy. Why? The demand for their services goes way up, but the pace of income doesn't match that demand.

That makes a new study by the Urban Institute, showing that government support for such groups is down, especially troubling. Their findings reveal that:

  • 56% of human service charities received less funding from State Governments
  • 49% received less from Local Governments
  • 31% received less from Federal Agencies.

That drop in government support, combined with decreases in other sources of revenues, like donations, has forced 82% of human service charities to scale back. Specifically,

  • 21% cut programs and services
  • 17% are helping less people
  • 50% have cut salaries or refrained from issuing pay increases
  • 39% have dipped into their rainy-day funds
  • 23% have reduced their employees benefits
  • 22% have had to borrow money.

Worst of all, the study’s authors predict that things will only get worse for human service charities. They believe demand for their programs and services will continue to increase and that revenues will continue to decline. So, as you start to make your holiday giving plans, please consider supporting a group like your local food bank or homeless shelter this year. For example, you could fund a holiday meal or volunteer at a local youth program.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Thanks for the Service!

We frequently hear from donors about how highly they value Charity Navigator and the service we provide. When those donors become our donors, too--that means a lot to us!

An overstuffed, pricey appeal (including a nickel in addition to a lifetime supply of address labels) sent one donor right to our web site to check out Paralyzed Veterans of America. Noting the charity's bloated fundraising expenses prompted this donor to leave this comment and decide instead to make a contribution to our efforts to assist charitable givers in making more informed giving decisions. We say a resounding "Thank You" to this donor and all of you who have joined the Charity Navigator donor family.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Fundraising Cost Charities Can't Control

Charities that solicit contributions from the public are required to register in every state that has such laws mandating registration (not all do). Not only are the initial and renewal registration processes oftentimes cumbersome and intrusive--in some states the fees have become absolutely outrageous!

And we know this firsthand. Charity Navigator is registered in 34 states and, thus far this year, we have paid close to $3,300 in registration fees. Before the year is out, we will have forked over close to $4,500 in fees and spent countless man hours of valuable time filling out redundant renewal registrations. We know the states have good intentions and want to protect their citizens from unscrupulous operators but there has to be a better, more efficient way!

We feel the time has come to fully "nationalize" this process by having charities complete a single registration form that is good for all states. A Uniform Registration Statement does exist, but not all states accept it and even those that do still have their own individual financial reporting requirements in addition to the URS. If a truly integrated national system was adopted, individual states could still collect their fees, but they could be significantly reduced as they would no longer need dedicated office staff to administer these unwieldy programs. That's more money in charities' coffers to spend on services that help people and communities--dollars would go where they are needed and not into state treasuries! We'd love to know what you think--please leave a comment.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday's Film

Today's video comes from KOMO News and it encourages donors to be thoughtful about their breast cancer related purchases. Visit our site for our own video on this topic and to see ratings for breast cancer charities.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Do You Know A Top Performing Human Service Professional?

If so, the Superstar Foundation wants to know.

The Superstar Foundation is the first nonprofit organization to specifically seek out, recognize and reward the highest-performing human service professionals in America. Up to 4 winners will receive grants of $5,000 which they can use however they deem appropriate.

Visit their site to learn more and to nominate someone.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What Does Charity Navigator, Pepsi And Yale Have In Common?

A conference on philanthropy this December, that's what.

That’s right; our very own Ken Berger will be a speaker at 6th annual Yale School of Management Philanthropy Conference. The theme of this year’s event, which will take place on December 3 in New Haven, CT, is “Fostering Innovative Ideas for Social Change.” Ken will be on a panel with Claire Lyons, Global Grant Portfolio Manager at the PepsiCo Foundation, Michael Smith, Vice President, Social Innovation at the Case Foundation, and Jose Zamora, Journalism Associate at the Knight Foundation. Their session will focus on Philanthropy 2.0- the role of digital media, networks and technology to promote social change.

You can find out more about this conference and register here.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Before Time Runs Out - Please Vote For Charity Navigator's Tagline

Time is running out to vote for Charity Navigator for the 2010 Nonprofit Tagline Awards.

Voting ends Wednesday, October 6. So please, take a moment, and vote for our tagline - Your Guide To Intelligent Giving – today! You’ll find our listing at the very bottom of the survey, under “16. Organizations- Other Taglines.”

Vote Now!

Friday, October 1, 2010

October Update

On our site today, you will find 408 updated charity ratings and 22 newly added charity ratings. Visit the site to see how charities like Adopt-A-Classroom, The New York Public Library, Wikimedia Foundation, Autism Speaks , United Breast Cancer Foundation , and A Better Chance rate. You can also read our president & CEO's latest report here. Finally, if you plan to make a charitable donation in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, then be sure to check out our Hot Topic on this issue.

Photo from Shutterstock.com