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.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Time is running out!

Your gifts to charity are an expression of your generosity and commitment to solving the problems that threaten our society. Even if your intentions are 100% altruistic, Uncle Sam rewards your charitable endeavors by making these gifts tax-deductible. But remember you must make your donation by the end of today to claim the tax deduction on your 2010 taxes. Find a charity to support now.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Reach For The Stars

Still not sure where to give your philanthropic dollars this holiday season? There are plenty of 3-star and 4-star charities on our site. In fact, we've got around 3,500 charities that earn such high marks. You'll find them in each of our categories and causes. And many of them have also been reviewed against our new accountability and transparency methodology. So, go on, find a great charity and give generously now.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Thanks for Your Support!

All of us here at Charity Navigator want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have so generously supported our work this past year. It is deeply appreciated and inspires us as we move forward with the important work of developing and implementing our expanded and enhanced rating system. This year, over 14,000 of you joined the Charity Navigator donor family for the first time--we are so grateful! Your help is vital to continue the expansion of our rating system and achieve financial sustainability. For those of you who would like to support our efforts but have not as yet done so, we would love to have you join us. Thanks again and we wish you a very happy New Year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Year-End Report From Charity Navigator's President & CEO

In our holiday giving tips this year, we encouraged donors to seek out charities that provide information about their results. In our commitment to 'walking the walk,' Ken Berger has used his final report for 2010 to discusses our progress towards our 4 main goals which are to:
  1. Expand and Improve our Products
  2. Broaden Donor Utilization
  3. Increase and Diversify our Funding
  4. Become a 4-Star Charity

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Charity Navigator's President & CEO On TV

Ken Berger discusses how charities are doing in the recession on Fox Business News.

Here are the charitable giving trends that Ken discussed on the show:

  • Individual charitable giving remains strong and is anticipated to be at the same level as last year (that is roughly $230 billion!). This is the bright spot in an otherwise difficult environment for charities. Americans remain recession resistant in their charitable giving!
  • Corporate and foundation giving declined last year and is anticipated to remain lower than in prior years due to lower revenues and investment income as well as a very conservative view on cash flow given uncertainty.
  • Government funding of nonprofits is shrinking as state governments are forced to cut back. This is especially challenging for safety net charities that rely heavily on government contracts and grants. When the stimulus money runs out, this situation could get even worse.
  • Challenges continue for museum and arts organizations as people are focusing more on immediate needs of their local communities.
  • Religious organizations are also beginning to see some signs of cutbacks in giving but overall continue to get the largest share of individual donations.
  • International organizations in Haiti are hoping to see an influx of support to address that countries long term challenges, but do not expect to see anything like the initial outpouring of support. However, they are hopeful that people who gave this past January will give once again during the holiday season.
  • Charities that offer donors a specific opportunity to help people like DonorsChoose (funding a specific need in a classroom in a school) or Kiva (providing a micro-loan to help a poor person start a business) continue to grow in popularity.
  • Charities that consistently measure the impact of their work – such as Nurse-Family Partnership – continue to grow in popularity as donors look for evidence of results and not just anecdotes (stories) and good marketing.

Friday, December 24, 2010


Do you have a favorite charity? Is there one that you support year after year? Which one is it and why?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tick Tock

If you haven't yet made your year-end donations, we urge you not to procrastinate. You have just a few days to make a gift to a qualified charitable organization in order to reduce your 2010 tax bill. To help you make an informed decision before the January 1st deadline, check out our Holiday Giving Tips and our 5,500 charity ratings.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Our Tips On TV

As you might know, charitable giving increases significantly during the last 6 weeks of the year. Some charities get as much as 1/4 or more of their annual donations at this time of year. And we know that 22% of annual online donations processed by Network for Good occur on the last two days of the year. So this is a perfect time for Ken Berger, Charity Navigator’s president & CEO, to appear on TV offering giving tips. In fact, you can catch him on Wednesday, December 22, live, on Fox Business News (11:30).

Friday, December 17, 2010

Giving Factoids

Did you know?

  • You must keep a bank record or written communication from a charity including the charity's name, along with the date and amount of your contribution, in order to deduct a cash contribution.
  • Donations to the nation's 400 biggest charities dropped 11% in 2009. This decline was nearly four times as great as the next biggest annual decrease of 2.8% in 2001, when charities also struggled to raise money from recession-battered donors. Sadly, these large charities say that they don't expect to fair much better in 2010.
  • According to the Census Bureau, 43.6 million people lived in poverty in 2009 which was up from 39.8 million in 2008.
  • Charity Navigator users gave 360% more through our site in January 2010, when the earthquake hit Haiti, than January 2009.
  • A recent survey of charitable organizations in 10 countries around the world revealed that demand for services is rising faster than donations.
  • One in eight people worldwide do not have access to safe drinking water. Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation kill more people annually that all forms of violence (including war).

Visit our site for more holiday inspired factoids. Then share them with your family over the holidays to impress them with your philanthropic knowledge!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Finally, Finish Your Holiday Shopping Today!

What? You haven't finished your holiday shopping yet and you are determined to give something meaningful. Well, then a Good Card sounds like the answer for you.

You get a tax-deduction and the recipient (relative, friend, client or coworker) has the opportunity to support his/her favorite charity. Together you make a difference and feel good this holiday season.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Network for Good's New Online Giving Study

Last week, our partner, Network for Good, released a study about online giving. The research took a look at $381 million in online giving through Network for Good, including $3.6 million gifts to 66,470 different nonprofits from 2003-2009.

Here are some of the major points from this new, important research:

  • Online giving spikes during the month of December and large-scale disasters. During disasters, donors are more likely to consider new giving options, while in December, they’re more likely to give based on relationships with the charities.

  • A third of all online giving occurs in December, and 22% of annual giving happens in the last two days of the year.

  • Online giving (by dollars) on December 31 is concentrated between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. in each time zone.

  • Online giving happens largely between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays, with a noticeable drop in giving during the noon (lunch) hour.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

NJ Nonprofit Professionals - Don't Miss This Event

Sobel & Co.’s Nonprofit and Social Services Group Breakfast Symposium, “Repositioning Your Nonprofit: Getting Ready for What’s to Come,” is just one month away!

On January 12 from 8:00 am -11:30 am at the Woodbridge Hilton (Iselin, NJ) guest speaker, Alex Plinio (from Rutgers University) will speak on “The Critical Role of Ethics for Nonprofit Leaders.” During the symposium, onprofit professionals will learn new approaches to Leadership, Fundraising and Services.

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

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Help Your Friends Identify And Support Great Charities

We are now in the throws of the busiest time of year for donations. Between Christmas and New Years, some charities receive 20%, 30% and even upwards of 50% of their annual contributions. If you have website or blog, then you can help your readers make smart choices by including our little charity search widget. It will allow your fans to quickly search for and identify charities that match their philanthropic interests.

Simply copy and paste the code from our site into yours to post this:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Legal Wars

Yesterday's Huffington Post contained an article by Laura Bassett which took a closer look at Susan G. Komen's legal endeavors to protect its 200 registered trademarks. Here's what I said in the article:
"I think it's important that charities protect their brand, but on the other hand, I don't think the donors' intent in giving their money was to fund a turf war. It's very important that Komen treads carefully and is very transparent about how they're spending money on these legal battles."
What do you think? Have you donated to Komen or another breast cancer charity? Are you disappointed to hear that Komen has used some of its resources to fund these legal battles? Or do you think charities should aggressively protect their brands?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Did You Donate To Haiti Earthquake Relief Efforts?

If so, we want to know more about your experience. For example, are you confident that the charities that responded spent the money they raised wisely? What influenced your selection of a particular charity? Would you support that charity again?
Take our short survey now.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Our CEO Speaks At Canada's House of Commons Today

Ken Berger, Charity Navigator’s president & CEO, will provide testimony this afternoon to Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance. He was selected to be a witness regarding Bill C-470, which seeks to require Canadian charities to disclose their CEO’s pay (a requirement in the U.S.) and puts a cap on how high those salaries can go (there is no cap in the U.S.). Other witnesses include:
  • SickKids Foundation (the group that caused the controversy that lead to this Bill being introduced)
  • Imagine Canada (a Canadian charity umbrella group that is against both the cap and salary disclosure)
  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Association of Fundraising Professionals
  • Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations
  • Montreal Symphony Orchestra

You can learn more about Mr. Berger’s position here and you can watch his testimony online here.

Monday Morning Movie

Here's a little video to start off your week. Charity Navigator's tips start at 5 minutes and 25 seconds into the film.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday's Film

Ken Berger, Charity Navigator's president & CEO, was on Fox Business News last night talking to Gerri Willis about holiday giving tips. He also shared our list of 'Naughty and Nice' charities.

Holiday Gift That Supports Charities

Looking for a holiday gift that everyone will love and that has a charitable component? The Good Card is it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Inspiring Kids To Give Back

More than other time of year, this is the season for giving back and for inspiring our children to follow our lead. My kids kicked off the season by shopping for doll clothes and then dressing a doll to give away to a little girl without one (they also imparted a lot of hugs and love onto the doll before giving her up). Working off a list of needed items, we hit the supermarket (typically not a place my kids enjoy going) and donated our selections to a group collecting for Thanksgiving meals. And when they got to see a presentation by a highly-rated charity, my kids decided they’d like to contribute to the cause at a level equivalent to their age in dollars. My husband and I then offered a matching grant to make their donation a bit more substantial.

These are just a few examples of small ways in which our family will integrate philanthropy into the holiday season. But there are many, many, many other ways in which we teach kids about giving. What will you do to inspire the children around you to become future donors?