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.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday's Movie - Associated Community Services Telemarketing Calls for Charity

This report, by WXYZ-TV, highlights the inefficiency of for-profit telemarketers and reminds you to HANG UP THE PHONE when they call asking for a donation. Some of the charities this particular firm, Associated Community Services, fundraises for include:

Many of these same charities can be found on our Top 10 list of Charities Overpaying their For-Profit Fundraisers.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Zealand Earthquake

Earlier this week, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit New Zealand. The damage to buildings, homes and infrastructure is centered in and around the city of Christchurch. Reports indicated that around 75 people perished as a result of this disaster.

Although many people are asking us how they can support the relief and recovery efforts, we’re hearing that New Zealand’s government isn’t appealing for assistance. Some charities have even posted such messages on their own websites.

We are also hearing that scams are popping up in an attempt to profit off of our desire to help. So please keep in mind our tips for donating in a crisis such as:

  • Be Careful Of Email Solicitations:

    • Be Leery Of People That Contact You Online Claiming To Be A Victim – Unless you personally know someone in New Zealand, anyone alleging to be in this position is most likely part of a scam. Obviously, people affected by the earthquake are in no position to contact you directly for assistance.

    • Delete Unsolicited Emails With Attachments - Never respond to unsolicited emails. Do not open any attachments to these emails even if they claim to contain pictures from New Zealand. These attachments are probably viruses.

  • Seek Out The Charity’s Authorized Website: Each charity’s ratings page on Charity Navigator includes a link to is legitimate website.

  • Be Inspired By Social Media, But Still Do Your Homework: Social networking tools like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and blogs have the power to deliver heart-wrenching images and information about the earthquake to our computers and phones with pleas to donate. While these tools can be a powerful way to inspire your desire to help, you should not blindly give via these vehicles. You must take the time to investigate the groups behind such pleas for help to ensure that it comes from a legitimate nonprofit.

  • Avoid Telemarketers: As always, hang up the phone do your homework and give directly to a charity.

Finally, for those that really want to donate, we did learn of one charity, ShelterBox, that is responding to this disaster. If we learn of others, then we will post that on this blog and our site.

Photos provided by Shutterstock.com.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dugan, Gates and Buffett

What does Charity Navigator's very own Founder and Chairman of the Board, John P. Dugan, have in common with the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett?

All three were selected as one of the “100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics.” This award, given by Ethisphere Magazine, a publication covering business ethics, compliance, anti-corruption, sustainability and related matters, recognizes 100 people around the globe who had significant, positive impact in the realm of business ethics during the previous year. The list is developed by a combination of Ethisphere staff researchers and outside academic experts.

We at Charity Navigator know just how deserving Mr. Dugan is of this award and we hope you will join us in congratulating him.

(Pictured here are Mr. Dugan and his wife Marion Dugan who together founded Charity Navigator.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Haiti Progress Reports

From ActionAid International USA to Water Missions International, 44 charities that have submitted reports about their progress in Haiti. Their progress reports talk about:
  • what they’ve done,
  • their immediate results,
  • if their results thus far have prompted them to adjust their course of action to improve their results,
  • whether or not they plan to continue to work in Haiti,
  • the biggest challenges they face in Haiti,
  • and if they’ve coordinated their efforts with other organizations.

Our questions for the charities working in Haiti were derived from the 7 questions we suggest donors ask charities before donating.

Photo, provided by The Lambi Fund Of Haiti, is of local grassroots organizations distributing emergency earthquake grants to members.

Friday, February 11, 2011

It's Not Too Late to Give a Valentine’s Day Gift from the Heart

Are you looking for a Valentine’s Day gift more personal, meaningful and heartfelt than chocolate or flowers? Why not give the gift of charity? Simply buy a Good Card and have it sent by email to your loved one, thereby giving them the opportunity to support their favorite charity.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Questions To Ask Before Donating

Before you pick a charity to support, do you make a habit of examining its results? If not, you should. Either give the charity a call or visit its website to assess the quality of its results. Many charities welcome such conversations and will be eager to talk to donors about their work. Our site includes 7 questions to help guide your conversation.
Photo provided by Shutterstock.com.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Thanks to You, It Was a Wonderful Year!

Thanks to the generous support of over 21,000 Charity Navigator users, 2010 was a banner year for our fundraising efforts. We cannot thank all of you enough for your contributions not only to support our efforts to continue to provide our vital service to the close to 5 million site visitors we had last year but also to inspire us as we continue our strides toward CN 2.0! Your investment in our work is most deeply appreciated and critically needed as we continue our unwavering quest to be the most comprehensive, go-to resource for donors.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ongoing Support from Hobbs Foundation Enables Charity Navigator to Rate Nearly 150 Charities

For the 7th consecutive year, the Hobbs Foundation has partnered with Charity Navigator to help us to expand the unbiased data we provide at no cost to the American public. In total, this foundation has funded the analysis of nearly 150 charities. Check out the 20+ newly rated charities added to our site this monthh thanks to the Hobbs Foundation.

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.