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, September 29, 2010

Don’t Miss This Learning Opportunity

If you are a nonprofit professional and live in the tri-state area, then you will not want to miss the Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership’s Nonprofit Executive & Emerging Leader Certificate Program. The event will be held November 2-4 from 8am -5pm at Rutgers Business School’s Newark Campus. The program features distinguished faculty and nationally recognized practitioners, including Charity Navigator’s own president & CEO, Ken Berger, who will lead in-depth presentations and discussions on Nonprofit Accountability & Transparency. Others will present on a wide range of topics including: Fundraising Leadership, A Personal Model for Life and Career Planning, Ethics and Accountability: Challengesfor Nonprofit and Foundation Leaders, Nonprofit Financial Management, Leading through Communication, The Strategic Board, Best Practices in ExecutiveCompensation and Relevance and Sustainability.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Do The Rich Give More?

Not as a percentage of their wealth, according to a recently published study by Paul Piff, a psychologist at U.C. Berkeley. He began his study by giving subjects credits, worth real money, and asking them if they’d like to keep the credits or share it with another person. Subjects who were at the lower end of the socioeconomic scale (both in terms of income and education) gave almost 50% more away than those at the higher end. He then asked the participants how much they believe people should give to charity as a percentage of their income. The average response for those at the lower end of the socioeconomic scale was 5.6% while on average the wealthier participants said 2.1%.

Dr. Piff’s results indicate that the poor are more generous than the wealthy. His theory is that the less well off you are the more you depend on others. He says that for the needy, compassion “…instead of money is going to be the resource they can turn to in times of hardship and need.”

Photo provided by Shutterstock.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Our Free Search Widget

These days there are widgets for so many different organizations --- including Charity Navigator! Our free, search widget allows you to tap into our 5,500 charity ratings right from your website or blog.

Visit our site to learn more.

Friday, September 24, 2010

One-Time Filing Relief for Small Organizations

Monday, September 20, 2010

Growth In Breast Cancer Charities

Summer is nearly over and October is just around the corner. With the change of season, comes apple cider and Halloween decorations – and an overwhelming amount of pink products. Unless you live under a rock, you must know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. And at Charity Navigator that means that we start answering a lot of questions from donors and reporters around the issues of effective cause-related marketing.

While helping a reporter the other day, I developed the following chart. We were trying to test the hypotheses that breast cancer charities have seen greater growth over recent years compared to other disease related groups. Ultimately, the reporter is trying to discern if the amazing amount of corporate partnerships with breast cancer charities has helped this disease generate more revenues. Keeping in mind the limitations to the information below (our database includes just a sampling of all charities working in each of these causes), our data does seem to corroborate that theory.


Median Revenue Growth (last 3 - 5 years)



ALS Organizations






Breast Cancer












Multiple Sclerosis


Parkinson's Disease


Friday, September 17, 2010

New Way To Donate To Charity Navigator - Give It A Try

You've told us that you want to support Charity Navigator's work so that we can continue to provide you with the objective analysis you need to make smart giving choices. And you've also told us that you prefer easy-to-use and inexpensive online donation tools. So we offer many ways to donate to us - including Google, PayPal, Amazon and Network for Good - allowing you to pick whichever one works best for you.

Today, we're pleased to offer a new donation widget. Powered by Razoo, this tool is so simple to use. In fact, you don't even have to leave this blog to complete your donation. We hope you'll give it a try by making a donation to Charity Navigator today! (See the widget in the right-hand side of this blog).

Why support us?
Charity Navigator, a nonprofit itself, is the only source in America that provides objective analysis of the financial health of more than 5,000 of America's largest charities for free. Donors who use our site not only give more than they planned to before visiting our site, but also support new charities they had not considered before accessing our findings. So your support of our work actually brings more funding into the charitable sector and helps direct it to high performing charities.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Upcoming Conference to Focus on Nonprofit Challenges During Tough Times

Now, more than ever, protecting nonprofits and donors during tough economic times requires the commitment and attention of all nonprofit leaders and regulators throughout the country.

With that theme in mind, the National Association of State Charities Officials (NASCO) and the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) will be hosting its annual conference for nonprofit leaders, regulators, policy makers and academics on Oct. 4 in Silver Spring, Maryland.

“Charities and Regulators: Doing More With Less During Hard Economic Times” is the theme of the one-day conference which aims to bring regulators and nonprofit leaders to work together effectively on issues of mutual interest.

NASCO President Eric Carriker, an Assistant Attorney General in Massachusetts, said that both charities and regulators face challenges during these financially challenging times. “There are limited resources available to our nation’s nonprofits and it is important that all of us connected with the nonprofit sector work hard to ensure that assets intended to provide vital services to our communities are effectively used to support those causes,” he said. Carriker said that regulators strive to prevent fraud, self-dealing and misapplication of charitable assets through regulation of fiduciary duties, restricted funds, charitable trusts, charitable solicitation, and registration for charities and professional fundraisers.

“These are issues that concern both regulators and committed nonprofit leaders because they can damage the integrity of and the public’s faith in the entire community,” he said.

Speakers at the October conference will include leaders in the Nonprofit Sector- including Charity Navigator's own Ken Berger - federal and state regulators, academics and others who will address evolving issues within the Sector. Topics for discussion include updates on initiatives of Congressional and federal agencies related to nonprofits, oversight of nonprofit governance, nonprofit effectiveness measures, innovative fundraising strategies, and philanthropy trends.

The agenda is included below and registration details are available at http://www.nasconet.org/.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Corporate Commitment to Protecting Our Children

Now that school has reopened and fall youth activities are in full swing, we
want to once again highlight a terrific free service offered by CN sponsor IntegraScan, a leading provider of criminal background checks.

Through its Safe Kids program,the company provides $3 million of annual free background checks to any organization, charity or not, serving children and youth. Parents should not have to worry about their children's safety and well-being when entrusting them to coaches and others who conduct programs for youngsters. Click here to learn how you can better protect your kids or those your organization serves.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11 National Day Of Service

Nine years ago, terrorists attacked the United States of America killing and injuring thousands. Horrified and compassionate Americans subsequently donate $2.2 billion to various charities that had quickly set up 9/11-related funds. This is the most money ever raised in response to a single catastrophe.

Today, we are asked to commemorate this tragedy and continue the momentum of generosity by donating our time. You can learn about that effort by visiting a website by MyGoodDeed Inc., in partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service, HandsOn Network, and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum (“9/11 Memorial”). The site even includes lesson plans for teachers and tips for parents. And the widget below shows you how some people have pledged to do good.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

9/11 Charities

As anniversary of the September 11th terrorists attack on the United States of America approaches, we’ve received more inquiries from donors about related charities. We have a listing of some on our site, but there are many that are accomplishing great things, but that remain too new or too small for our rating system. If you receive a solicitation in the mail for one of these 9/11 memorial groups that we do not yet rate, then be sure to do your homework before you give. If such a group calls you, then you probably want to politely hang up. And if you get an electronic appeal for support, be sure to seek out the charity’s legitimate website rather than clicking on a link from a source that is unfamiliar to you.

Photo from Shutterstock.com

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Global Look At Charity Registration

There isn’t a week that goes by without an inquiry from a donor who wants to know if we’ve established a Charity Navigator branch in their country. We have not. Although the scope of the charity’s work may be overseas, we only examine charities with 501 (c ) (3) public charity status in the US. Aside from our limited resources, a major factor in why we haven’t expanded is the general lack of data on charities in other parts of the world.

It was with the knowledge of this growing global demand for nonprofit evaluation and the deficit of requisite data that made me stop and read the minutes from the 2010 International Charity Regulators Conference. This was a meeting of the various entities from around the world - like the IRS in the U.S. - that regulate charities. Representatives from countries like Australia and Scotland discuss their accomplishments and challenges. I know, it sounds boring, but it is a quick read and an interesting snapshot of how nonprofit marketplaces in other parts of the world are changing.

Photo from Shutterstock.com

Friday, September 3, 2010

And We Have A Winner

This week, Gildan Activewear announced the winner of its 5-5-5 Chari-T Design contest. The challenge was to design a t-shirt that would demonstrate the spirit behind charitable involvement as expressed through the many stories that have been submitted to the company's “I Support…” program . A panel of judges comprising industry leaders (including me) and design experts had several excellent submissions to choose from. The judges ultimately felt that Kristen Redfearn's (of Marketing Communications, Inc. in Thomasville, GA) design (shown here) was the best. I liked this design in particular because it is universal in its message and would apply to any type of charitable activity.

If you don't know, the “I Support…” program was launched by Gildan in January, 2010 to help support charities who are struggling in these challenging economic times to maintain revenues necessary to continue their great work. Through the “I Support…” program, the company plans to give up to $100,000 to a charity in January 2011.

In addition to receiving $5,000 in Gildan product, Ms. Redfearn’s winning design will be utilized when Gildan and M&R team up to attempt a new world record for shirts printed in one hour by a single operator at the ISS show in Fort Worth, TX in October.

Nine other designs were among the Top 10 finalists selected in the 5-5-5Chari-T Design contest via public voting. All 10 designs can be viewed on Gildan’s Facebook page.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Conversation With Donors

At Charity Navigator, we often tell donors that they should not hesitate to pick up the phone and call a charity to get answers to their questions prior to making a donation. We maintain that great charities welcome such calls. And so, we were thrilled to hear about the 4-star Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties new program designed to keep its donors informed - the "Investor Web Conference Series."

The Food Bank launched the series last week with a look at what makes it one of the most efficient in the nation. Charity Navigator's own Ken Berger explained to the Food Bank's donors about the various factors that set the Food Bank apart. Then Second Harvest's CFO, Sally Petersen, provided tangible examples of how every donation changes lives. You can view the slides from the presentation below.