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, December 31, 2011

Time Is Running Out To Make Charitable Gifts In 2011

The clock is ticking! You have just a few hours left to make a gift to a qualified charitable organization in order to reduce your 2011 tax bill.
  • Go to our site now and give only by clicking on the ‘Donate Now’ button located on your favorite charity’s ratings page. An added benefit of giving through our site is that you’ll be able to access your 2011 giving history when you are ready to complete your tax return.
  • And if our evaluations have helped guide your charitable decisions this year, we hope you’ll consider a donation to Charity Navigator. We are a 501 (c)(3) public charity and donations to us are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Milestones in Philanthropy in America

We have a strong tradition of charitable giving in America. Here are just a few notable moments in our philanthropic history:
  • 1643 - The first account of a fundraising drive in America is organized by Harvard University. It raised 500 pounds.
  • 1917-Thanks to the Revenue Act of 1917, taxpayers can deduct their charitable contributions off their federal income taxes.
  • 1964 -Although giving in the Federal workplace goes as far back as the 1940s, it wasn’t until in 1961 that President John F. Kennedy authorized the creation of a formal fundraising program. Launched in 1964, the first Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) raised $12.9 million.
  • 1999 -New legislation requires charities to provide copies of their three most recently filed Forms 990 to anyone who makes a request in-person or in writing.
  • April 2008 -With evaluations of over five thousand charities, Charity Navigator is the nation's largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities.
Visit our site to learn more about America's giving history. And check out this page to learn more the types of Americans that give the most and how we compare with the Europeans.

Photo by H.Damke via Shutterstock.com.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Importance of Year-End Donations

In a recent survey, we asked charities “what percentage of annual contributions from individuals does your charity receive at year-end (roughly speaking the time from Thanksgiving to New Years)?" The answers literally ranged from 0% to 100%. But on average, these charities receive 41% of their annual contributions in the last few weeks of the year!

And if we probe deeper it appears that online giving, probably due to its convenience, may actually be stronger during the holidays than other types of giving. Specifically, Network for Good reports that >30% of annual giving via their donation processing system occurs during December. Furthermore, 10% of the donations they process annually come in on the last 2 days of the year.

Will you be one of the donors making an online gift before the end of the year? If so,
  1. Check out our year-end giving tips.
  2. Use our free site to select a charity.
  3. Then make a donation online by clicking on the 'donate now' button on the charity's ratings page.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Charity Navigator's CEO on Fox Business News Today

Watch this clip to find out how to pick a charity.

Still Looking for a Charity to Support at Year-End?

Check out our list of Highest and Lowest-Rated Charities by cause. And if you don't find a charity there that matches your philanthropic passions, then check out these other tools:

And be sure to read Charity Navigator's Year-End Giving tips before you write a check or make an online gift.

Photo provided by valdis torms via Shutterstock.com.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Did You Know?

  • Contributions are deductible in the year made. Thus, donations charged to a credit card before the end of 2011 count for 2011. This is true even if the credit card bill isn't paid until 2012. Also, checks count for 2011 as long as they are mailed in 2011 and clear, shortly thereafter.
  • Even with the recent economic decline, over 50% of the organizations evaluated by Charity Navigator have increased their programs and services while also increasing their primary revenue.
  • More than 13.3 million people—greater than the combined populations of New York City and Los Angeles—are in need of immediate assistance due to the food crisis in the Horn of Africa.
  • Retailers took in over $45 billion in sales during the four-day weekend surrounding Black Friday, 2010. Arts charities took in $13.28 billion in contributions for the entire year of 2010.
  • 51% of the organizations evaluated by Charity Navigator have accumulated at least a year's worth of working capital to fall back on during economic downturns, up 26% from two years before.
  • Charitable giving by America's biggest companies is not expected to increase in 2011.
Read up on these and other Giving Facts on our site. Then impress your friends and family with your knowledge at your holiday dinner table.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

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.

You can order an email Good Card through 12/23.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tweet-A-Thon To Encourage Informed Giving

Do you use Twitter? Then how about giving us a shout-out? We kindly ask that you send out a tweet to encourage your followers to be informed donors this holiday giving season. Simple tweet one of these messages today, tomorrow or next week. Sending a tweet anytime between now and the New Year can help prevent your family/friends from making a giving blooper. More importantly, if we all think more about our giving, then together we can ensure that the best charities are on the receiving end of all of our holiday generosity!

1 million charities want your support. Use @CharityNav free #CharityRatings to find one you can trust http://ht.ly/7ZH53

@CharityNav provides tips and 1000’s of  #CharityRatings so you can be an informed donor http://ht.ly/7ZH53

Which orgs have the highest/ lowest #CharityRatings? @CharityNav has the answer http://ht.ly/7ZH53

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How Much Is Spent On The Charity’s Mission?

We get this question from time to time from new users of our site. Here’s the answer:

On every charity’s ratings page, under the section titled, Financial Performance Metrics, is a metric called Program Expenses. That shows you how much of the charity’s budget was allocated to the programs and services that it exists to provide.

For example, Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research spent 90.8% of its budget on its programs and services. This is a good figure. Of the 5,500 charities we rate, the vast majority at least 75% on programs, 10% or less on fundraising and 15% or less on administrative costs.

For those that are new to our site, you should also know that all of the metrics on the charity ratings pages are clickable. And when you do click on them, the resulting pop-up page will give you a definition of the metric and show you how we calculate it. This is what you’d see if you clicked on Program Expenses.

If you want more details about how we rate charities, then you can find all of that under the Methodology or FAQ sections of our site.

Also, if you are new to Charity Navigator then you might enjoy watching the recording of our December webinar. The focus of the presentation was our tips for year-end giving, but the Q&A portion offers a brief overview of our site. We are planning to do another webinar in the coming months which will focus entirely on how to use our site and interpret the ratings data. Be sure to subscribe to our monthly newsletter so you will receive an invitation to participate in the webinar.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Types of Charities

In a recent survey, we asked donors about the types of charities that they’d be likely to support this holiday giving season. As indicated in the graph below, Human Services (62%) charities came out on top with Arts, Culture, Humanities (27%) charities on the bottom. It seems logical that donors would be more likely to support Human Services charities (food banks, homeless shelters and the like) at year-end when the religious nature of the holiday season reminds us to be thankful for what we have and to remember those who are less fortunate. And it similarly follows that Arts groups would be less likely to be on our mind at this time of the year. Adding to that the recession, which historically speaking has been  a period during which donors redirect their giving away from cultural nonprofits towards those that help the needy, and we can easily understand the responses to this question.

What about you? What types of charities are you planning on supporting this year-end giving season?

Monday, December 12, 2011

CN on Fox Business News

Ken Berger, Charity Navigator's President & CEO, was on Fox Business News on Friday discussing charitable giving tips with host Gerri Willis.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Now, That's A Lot Of Appeals For Support!

As we’ve reported many times before on this blog, some donors get hundreds of appeals from charities each year and they don’t like it! I mention it again as this very topic was the focus of a recent article in The Oregonian which revealed that one donor received at least 220 solicitations in the past year! The reporter, Brent Hunsberger, very cleverly titled his article “Some Tips on Giving Defensively.”

I got a kick out of that, but it also made me sad. Is it really too much to ask that our favorite charities respect our wishes and refrain from sending numerous and expensive appeals? Moreover, shouldn’t they protect my privacy and keep my contact information confidential? Rest assured that many charities really do respect their donors in this way, but you as a donor need to check that out FIRST before you give.
    • Start by checking Charity Navigator’s site to see if the charity has a donor privacy policy (whereby they promise not to share/sell/ trade your information).
    • Consider giving anonymously. Many online tools allow you to do just that!
    • Review our site for more tips on how to avoid a mailbox full of appeal letters.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Spread Joy with Charity Gift Cards

Holiday shopping has never been so easy! Give a Good Card - the gift that keeps giving. You choose the amount (and get the tax deduction)... they choose the cause.

  • Avoid the mall and keep your sanity.
  • Buy through 12/9 to ensure delivery of physical Good Cards in time for the holidays.
  • Buy through 12/23 to ensure delivery of email Good Cards in time for the holidays.
  • Your loved ones can choose from thousands of charities.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Latest Helpful Reviews

During the year-end giving season, we're asking donors to help each other out by writing a review of their favorite (or not so favorite) charities. And we promised to highlight some of those reviews throughout the months of November and December. Here are a few charities that received reviews within the past week that were voted most helpful.  

Now, help your favorite charity get featured here and on our Holiday Giving Guide.  Don’t delay - Write a Review!

Experts Explain: How to Choose a Charity

Check out this smart film by the folks at SmartMoney that features Charity Navigator's year-end giving tips.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Charitable Tax Deduction

The Revenue Act of 1917 first created the charitable income tax deduction. It has long encouraged Americans to give back to their communities by providing tax deductions for contributions to charitable organizations. In fact, studies have shown that the tax policy has a big impact on charitable giving. For example:
  • Itemizing households accounted for 70% of the $229 billion in charitable donations in 2008.

  • The 2 % of taxpayers in the top bracket were responsible for 33 % of all charitable giving in 2008.

  • The power of the incentive can be seen in the timing of charitable giving, with more than 20 % of annual online charitable donations made on December 30 and 31. We see this at Charity Navigator when our web traffic spikes dramatically at the end of the year, even in just the last few hours of the year!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mail From a CN Donor

Today, we received this nice note from one of our donors.

"I just wanted to thank you for your great work. With the state of the world today, here and abroad, my family has chosen to give more to those less fortunate and less to ourselves. I love being able to know just what is spent where when I look at a charity of interest. One of the first things I did was support you so this service remains available to all."

As always, we thank everyone who uses our service to make informed giving choices as well as everyone who supports our efforts so that our site can remain FREE to both donors and charities. THANK YOU! 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Importance of Various Issues When Selecting a Charity

We asked donors and the charities to tell us how important various issues are when a donor is considering which charity to support. We wanted to see if there were in any gaps between what donors said was important and what charities believed their donors find to be important.
  • How Important is Accountability and Transparency (this includes ethics, good governance, disclosure practices)? The majority of donors (87%) indicated that this is a very important issue (rating it an 8, 9 or 10 on the scale of importance. In contrast, fewer of the charities (73%) believed their donors were especially interested in their Accountability and Transparency when considering whether or not to make a donation.  This mirrors what we’ve seen during the implementation of CN 2.0 (our expanded methodology that rates both Financial Health and Accountability & Transparency)  --- donors are very interested in these issues, yet many charities have failed to realize that until their donors question their Accountability & Transparency performance.
  • Not surprisingly, donors are very concerned about the CEO’s compensation (56% rating this issue 8, 9 or 10 on the scale of importance) when selecting a charity to support. But the charities’ didn’t recognize this as such an important issue for their donors (12%). There’s room for improvement here on both sides of the coin. Charities could do a better job explaining why their CEO’s pay is reasonable (and doing their benchmarking studies to ensure that it is appropriate). And donors need to understand that charities of a certain size must pay a decent salary to attract and retain competent leadership. Our CEO Compensation Study is a helpful tool for both donors and charities to better understand this issue.
  • Charities and donors see eye to eye on the importance of a charity’s Financial Health. 91% of donors and 81% of charities rated this issue an 8, 9 or 10 on the scale of importance.
  • Both charities and donors highly value a nonprofit’s results reporting (evidence of a charity’s effectiveness). On this issue, 89% of donors and 87% of charities rate it an 8, 9 or 10 on the scale of importance.
  • We also asked charities and donors to rate how important it is for donors to be familiar with the charity. Charities were more likely to see this as an important factor for their donors (81% rating it an 8, 9 or 10 on the scale of importance) than donors (65%). The charities comments, such as “a donor’s personal relationship with the solicitor is important” and the “donor’s personal connection to someone helped by the charity,” highlight their belief that a giver’s familiarity with the charity is of utmost importance. Although several studies support the charity's belief on this issue, our survey indicates that donors may be open to new charities. This demonstrates that there is an opportunity for charities with reasonable CEO pay, strong Financial Health, a commitment to Accountability & Transparency and evidence of results, to attract new supporters.
Visit our site for results of our Year-End Giving survey.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What Happened To Ticketmaster's Katrina Donations?

Phil Mushnick , a NY Post columnist, recently wrote about Ticketmaster’s behavior after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005. After the Hurricane hit and the Superdome was destroyed, the company charged a $10.30 “convenience fee” when a football game was switched from New Orleans to Giants Stadium. Ticketmaster then promised to donate that fee to the relief efforts. According to Mushnicks conservative estimation, the company should have donated $400,000 to the relief and recovery efforts. A year after the game, Mushnick asked Ticketmaster to provide the exact figures, but they failed to do so. Six years later, Mushnick says he still hasn’t gotten a response from Ticketmaster. Kind of makes you go, hmmm.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Top 10 List

Check out our list of 10 Celebrity-Related Charities. It includes Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research and the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Top 10 List

Check out our list of 10 Super-Sized Charities. It includes the American Red Cross, World Vision and the Smithsonian Institution.

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, November 24, 2011

Thankful for our Donors

The following notes are from Charity Navigator donors thanking us for our service.

We'd like to use Thanksgiving as an opportunity to say thank you back. At Charity Navigator we are thankful for all our donors and all of the smart givers who use our site to make informed choices. So THANK YOU and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Holiday Reading Material

Looking for something good to read over the holidays? Check out these great nonprofit books.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Money Talks: Charities - 3 Tips to Smart Donating

In this T.V. interview, Charity Navigator's President & CEO, Ken Berger, reminds viewers to "look at 3 dimensions of the charity. One, their financial health. Two, their accountability and transparency and three, how they measure the results of their work in terms of performance.” Press play to view the full story and then visit our site to find a charity to support.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Top 10 List

Looking to support Education charities? Start with our list of 10 Non-University Education Charities that had the most page views last month. It includes DonorsChoose, Scholarship America and Teach For America.

Friday, November 18, 2011

This Week's Helpful Charity Reviews

During the year-end giving season, we're asking donors to help each other out by writing a review of their favorite (or not so favorite) charities. And we promised to highlight some of those reviews throughout the months of November and December. Here are a few charities that received reviews within the past week that were voted most helpful. 

Now, help your favorite charity get featured here and on our Holiday Giving Guide.  Don’t delay - Write a Review!

Congrats To Network For Good

A few years back, we added Network for Good’s donation tool so that our users could research and give all within our site. In those few short years, Charity Navigator users have donated nearly $12 million to the 5,500 charities we rate using Network for Good’s user-friendly tool. Today, on the occasion of their 10th Anniversary, we wanted to say “Thanks” to our friends at Network for Good for helping so many of our users do so much good.

Happy Anniversary Network for Good!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Top 4 Tips for Giving This Holiday Season

America's charities, and more importantly, those they serve, need your support. And, as you can tell when you open your mailbox at this time of the year, they aren’t afraid to ask for it. Why do appeals increase at year-end? Because the year-end holidays are a time of religious and moral reflection that inspire many people to reach out to those who are less fortunate. Less altruistically, but still just as important, donors need to make their end-of-year giving decisions by December 31 to qualify for a tax deduction in this calendar year. Knowing that, charities increase their solicitations and an increase in charitable giving occurs between Thanksgiving and New Years.

But your support will do little to improve our world unless we all commit to pursuing responsible and informed philanthropy. We offer the following Top 4 Tips to ensure your holiday contributions are well-spent.
  1. Use Charity Navigator’s expanded ratings to gain more knowledge to do more good
  2. Dig beyond storytelling to look for evidence of impact
  3. Check the charity’s programs to ensure its efforts truly match your philanthropic passions
  4. Skip the gala and write a check
Learn more about each tip by visiting our Holiday Giving Guide.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Top 10 List

Check out our Top 10 list of Charities Expanding in a Hurry. It includes Cell Phones for Soldiers, the Wikimedia Foundation and the Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Veterans Day: Honoring All Who Served

Veterans Day, November 11th, is an annual celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism and sacrifice. And there many ways in which you can commemorate this holiday such as:

Sharing Your Bounty: Providing Holiday Meals to the Less Fortunate

With Thanksgiving approaching, many of us open our mailboxes to find a letter from a local charity asking that we cover the cost of their providing a hot meal to those in need. To help you ensure that people in your community can have a special, hot meal this holiday season, we've posted a set of tips. Review our tips and then go write that check.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Top 10 List

Check out our Top 10 list of the Most Frequently Viewed Charities during the month of October. It includes United States Fund for UNICEF, Wounded Warrior Project and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Help Other Donors Give Wisely!

Did you know that donations increase dramatically during the last 2 months of the year? Help us inform other donors about which charities they should support by sharing information about which ones you give to and why (or why not). Reviews that are voted most helpful may be featured on Charity Navigator’s Holiday Giving Guide and in our email newsletter - read by millions of donors.

Don’t delay. Write a Review Now!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

One Donor's Memo To Charities

We found out that one of our donors sends charities the following memo/checklist when that donor sent us a contribution. Check out the first item.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Candy & Charity

Looking back on my childhood, I can’t remember a Halloween that I didn’t carry around a UNICEF box to collect donations along with my pillow case for candy. Now my kids do the same.

Maybe you and your family have the same tradition seeing as Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF has been around for 61 years and has raised more than $164 million. Did you know it all started in 1950 when a family from Pennsylvania began collecting donations for children left vulnerable by WW II? And, did you know that in 2001 the program delivered messages to the children impacted by 9/11 or that in 2005 the money went to help those affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami and Hurricane Katrina? And did you know that the 4-star United States Fund for UNICEF isn’t the only charity successfully using Halloween to fundraise? The4-star Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network has a Trick-or-Treat for Food Allergy fundraising program for kids who can’t collect candy because of their food allergies.

So, as you put out your candy tonight for all the little ghosts and goblins, be sure to also have some change handy for the kids who are collecting for UNICEF or FAAN.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Nonprofit Leaders Shouldn’t Miss the 2012 Mission-Driven Management Summit

If you are a nonprofit professional, then you will want to join over 200 of your fellow nonprofit and public sector leaders for the Mission-Driven Management Summit, March 6-8, 2012, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to learn how mission-driven organizations like yours are executing on their strategies and achieving breakthrough results. By attending the summit, you will:

  • Learn cutting-edge techniques and concepts directly from Pink and Norton
  • Learn what works – and what doesn't – from organizations that are successfully implementing strategy
  • Network with C-Level executives from across the public and social sector
  • Learn how to get the most out of your board and understand the latest trends in evaluating the performance of nonprofits
  • Gain an appreciation of how your organization can become more effective at executing strategy
  • Be ready to handle calls for increased transparency in operations
  • Learn how to thrive in an environment of ever-accelerating change

In addition to Charity Navigator’s very own President and CEO, Ken Berger, this year’s conference features keynote addresses by Daniel H. Pink—the author of four provocative books about the changing world of work, including the New York Times bestseller DRIVE—and David P. Norton, the preeminent international authority on how to institutionalize strategic thinking using the Balanced Scorecard. Attendees will also hear presentations from BoardSource, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico, the Hillside Family of Agencies, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, and Rare Conservation.

The organizers were kind enough to offer Charity Navigator’s blog readers a discount on the registration fees. To take advantage of this offer, simply visit the summit’s website at www.missiondrivensummit.com and use the coupon code “MDMS2012CN” to obtain $100 off the current registration price. This is an event that you cannot afford to miss!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Guest Blog From GoodSearch

This guest post was written by Scott Garell, CEO, GoodSearch.

Following the trend of people wanting to incorporate “doing good” into their everyday lives, more than 13 million people are helping feed the homeless, save the environment, cure cancer and help more than 100,000 nonprofits and schools just by searching the internet and shopping online. Six years ago, brother/sister team Ken and JJ Ramberg wanted to figure out a way to turn everyday actions into a way to support the causes trying to make this world a better place. So, they partnered with Yahoo and launched GoodSearch.com a Yahoo-powered search engine which donates about a penny a search to your favorite cause, and then GoodShop.com a shopping portal which donates a percentage of your purchase at more than 2,500 stores (including Amazon, Expedia, Staples, Williams Sonoma and others) to your favorite cause. And, soon we will launch GoodDining, where people can earn up to 6% for their favorite cause by dining at 10,000 restaurants nationwide. As a result, more than $8 million has been directed to the charities and schools designated by its users.

4-star UNICEF has used the money earned from GoodSearch and GoodShop to provide clean drinking water to more than 200,000 children; the 2-star National Inclusion Project which helps children with disabilities has used the $16,000+ its supporters have raised to send nearly 250 children to summer camp; and supporters of the 3-star ASPCA have earned more than $40,000 to help animals in need. New charities can join at GoodSearch.

And, with a recent site update, both users and organizations can track their earnings right on the GoodSearch website. Users can also now can review individual charity profile pages to select charities to support based on their descriptions, number of supporters and activity levels.

As the holiday season approaches and people prepare to do the majority of the year’s shopping, organizations are focused on getting the word out to their supporters to not forget to either click through from GoodShop to their favorite store, or download the GoodSearch toolbar, to ensure that every gift they buy also results in a donation to their cause!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Note From A Charity Navigator Donor Reminds Us To Be Careful About Donating Over The Phone

This nice note from one of Charity Navigator's donors illustrates one of the reasons why it isn't a good idea to give over the phone (it probably is a very low rated charity). Visit our site for tips for dealing with these calls.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

This Charity Sure Is Proud Of Its Stars

Hope For The Warriors has earned a 4-star rating and they sure are proud as you can see by this image of their website:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

With so many products emblazoned with pink ribbons, you probably already know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. What you may not know is that there are more than 1,000 breast cancer charities vying for your attention and donations. Here are some resources to help you navigate the plethora of opportunities to support this cause:

Also, here’s some recent media coverage of this topic:

Monday, October 17, 2011

President & CEO's October Report

Of course the biggest news since my last full report in August was the launch of CN 2.0. What an amazing response it has received! Almost 500 charities had made changes to their accountability and transparency practices from the time we started tracking this information on July 1st up until the launch on September 20th. In the past week, another 191 charities sent us updated information. What a tremendous testament to the positive impact Charity Navigator is having on the nonprofit sector! In other words, in just the past few months a tremendous amount of additional information became available to the world, regarding charities, that wasn’t available before! In case you missed it, my take on all of this was recently published on the Huffington Post blog site (here)... continue reading Ken Berger's monthly report here.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Take Our SHORT Survey Before It Closes

This is your last chance to fill out our year-end giving surveys. We have one specific to donors and one for charity representatives. We’ll be closing the surveys on Monday morning so we can start analyzing the data. Be on the lookout for the results come November.

  • Donors -- Take our short survey about your year-end giving plans.
  • Charity Leaders -- What are your predictions for year-end giving? Use this survey to let us know.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Impact of CN 2.0

A few weeks ago, we launched CN 2.0, our expanded rating system that measures each charity’s (1) Financial Health and (2) Accountability & Transparency. Since then:

  • Philanthropists of all kinds, including Craig Newmark, have endorsed our expanded rating system. One Charity Navigator user summed it up like this "nice job helping donors make informed choices."

  • Charities have praised the new methodology. For example, Lisa Holzman, Director of Development & Patron Services at the Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra Association had this to say about the launch of CN 2.0, "thank you to Charity Navigator for giving non-profits the push to be the best they can be!"

  • Many charities have promoted their high-ratings for having a strong commitment to Accountability & Transparency while maintaining Fiscal Strength.Check out this example.

  • Nearly 200 charities have worked to resolve their Accountability & Transparency shortcomings. See which charities.

A Fundraising Idea from ITo Products

Click here to learn more about the following offer.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Now is the Time to Write a Review of Military and Veterans Charities

Help other donors make smart choices about which Military and Veterans charities to support by sharing your personal experience. The 10 highly-rated charities helping veterans, injured soldiers and their families that get the most reviews during October will be featured in a special Top 10 list on our site next month (here's the Top 10 list from last month's Education campaign).

Write A Review Now

Friday, September 30, 2011

Nice Fan Mail

Check out this nice note we received in the mail today from one of our site users and donors!

Come join our fans who support our work! Donate to Charity Navigator now.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

CN 2.0 Is Here

Today, Charity Navigator launched a new, two-dimensional rating system that measures each charity's Financial Health and Accountability & Transparency. As a result of the new scoring system (which we call CN 2.0):
  • Half of the nearly 5,500 charities rated by Charity Navigator received new star ratings

  • 30% of the charities’ star rating improved

  • 19% of the charities’ star ratings decreased

  • With the bar set higher, the total number of 4-star charities decreased by 20%.

  • At the same time, charities with ratings of 3 stars (good) or better increased by 8%.

Some of the notable ratings changes include:


Old Rating

New Rating


Old Rating

New Rating

1 3

4 3

3 4

4 3

1 3

4 3

2 3

4 3

3 4

4 3

For more information about today's launch, read our President & CEO's blog. And be sure to visit our site to see all the new ratings and read the details about our new rating system.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Plan To Limit Charitable Deductions For The Wealthy Is Back… Again

Time and time again, the President continues to put forth proposals to limit charitable deductions for the wealthy. The latest proposal is attached to the President’s jobs bill. If it passes, a wealthy donor who contributes $100,000 to a charity (starting in 2013) would only be able to deduct $28,000 of it; $7,000 less than the current amount allowed.

Many charity leaders are opposed to this proposal as they predict it would cause wealthy philanthropists to limit their giving. It has been estimated that, with no deduction for charitable gifts, annual giving would drop by 25 to 36 %, and the proposed cap could cost charities as much as $7 billion a year in contributions. Not only would that force charities to cut back on their charitable programs/ services, but it would also mean job losses which is just the opposite of what the President is trying to accomplish with this bill.

Image Shutterstock/ Mariusz S. Jurgielewicz

Monday, September 12, 2011

9/11 Products - Do They Benefit The Charities?

Have you recently come across 9/11 related products that claim to benefit a charity affiliated with the tragedy? The Philadelphia affiliate of ABC interviewed Charity Navigator’s President & CEO, Ken Berger, about these products and his tips for how you can be sure your purchases do the most good.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years Since 9/11

Remembering 9/11- the terrible loss, the charitable response the patriotic feelings. For more on the 9/11 related charities, see our recent blogs here and here.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Message From Our CEO

Visit our site to read a letter from our President & CEO, Ken Berger, about CN 2.0 and the big changes coming to our site later this month.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Back to School

With Labor Day behind us, America’s schools are in full swing. So now is the perfect time to think about helping out a Education related charity by making a donation, volunteering or by writing a review. On our site, you will find nearly 600 such charities. That includes charities that offer scholarship and financial aid services, those that promote school reform, those that offer experiential learning programs and others that offer programs supporting teachers, parents, students and schools.

Some of the more well-known and highly-rated charities in the Education category are
Check these out and more on our site. Then be sure to help other donors make smart choices about which Education charities to support by sharing your personal experience. The 10 highly-rated Education charities that get the most reviews during the month of September will be featured in a special Top 10 list on our site next month.

Image from paulojgon/ Shutterstock.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Labor Day Weekend

Enjoy the last long weekend of the summer.
~The Charity Navigator Staff

We Are Hard At Work

On the first of each month, we publish 100s of updated charity ratings. But just because we didn't do so this month, don't think we're all away on vacation. In fact, our team is hard at work making the final preparations to integrate the Accountability/ Transparency metrics into our star rating system. Implementation of our new rating system, which we call CN 2.0, will take place before the end of this month. We'll be sharing more information on that in the coming days.

Image from Dmitriy Shironosov/ Shutterstock

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Investigation Into 9/11 Charities

In our recent blog about the charities created post 9/11, we mentioned a report that "uncovered schemes beset with shady dealings, questionable expenses and dubious intentions." Now comes word that investigations into 9/11 charities have been launched in NY and Arizona. The investigations are looking into "whether they failed to follow state laws — and may have misspent millions intended to help and honor those affected by the terrorist attacks."

Image from Carolina K. Smith, M.D. / Shutterstock.com

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Irene - How To Help

The East Coast, from North Carolina to New England, took a beating from Hurricane Irene’s heavy wind and rains. Irene left a big mess in her wake with as many as 8,500 people evacuating to Red Cross shelters, around two dozen people dead, 3 million people without power and billions of dollars in damages.

How can you help? By supporting one of these charities: