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, March 30, 2011

Top 10 Charity Internships

We know our followers are big fans of our Top 10 charity lists. So, we figured you’d be interested in this new one compiled by Vault.com (the source for employer rankings, ratings and reconnaissance)

According to Vault.com the Top 10 charity internships (listed alphabetically) are:

  1. Advocates for Children of New York

  2. Camphill Soltane

  3. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

  4. Farm Sanctuary

  5. Food for the Hungry

  6. Hudson Institute

  7. Mother Jones

  8. National Women's Health Network

  9. Sierra Club

  10. Teen Voices

For those interested in finding an internship, please see Vault.com’s complete listing.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Radio Interview

Charity Navigator recently was interviewed by Christopher Springmann, Host of Life, Love & Health radio show, a program that seeks to ultimately make a difference in people’s lives by encouraging individuals to take positive, attainable actions to improve their personal and family health. If you are new to Charity Navigator then I recommend this segment as a great overview of what we're all about. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Be Inspired By Social Media, But Still Do Your Homework

We’ve been warning donors for sometime that they should be careful giving via links on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking applications. While these services can be powerful fundraising tools given their ability to quickly deliver photos and stories that touch our hearts, they should only serve as inspiration for our giving endeavors. Donors still need to stop and do some research before giving.

A recent story out of Hawaii proves our point. Anthony Marasia was posting messages on Facebook and other social media sites asking people to give to a ‘charity’ called Love the Animals. Sadly, the money that people gave went to line his own pockets and Love the Animals wasn’t even a bona fide charity. Thankfully, the Hawaii AG is stepping in to prosecute.

Let this story serve as a reminder that you need to be careful on social networking sites. Again, be inspired, but take the time to do some research before you open up your wallet.
Photo provided by Shutterstock.com.

Celebrate The Royal Wedding With A Donation

If you want to help Prince William and Catherine Middleton celebrate their upcoming April 29th nuptials, then consider a charitable donation. The couple has set up a special fund of 26 charities that represent 5 different causes such as Children Fulfilling Their Potential and Conservation for Future Generations. Most of these charities are based in other countries such as New Zealand and Canada. So, U.S. taxpayers may not want to give through the fund, but rather be inspired by the fund. Why? Because gifts to non U.S. charities are not tax deducible. To remedy that, instead give to one of the 5,500 U.S. 501 (c ) (3) public charities rated by Charity Navigator.

Monday, March 21, 2011


The CNN's Christine Romans interviews Charity Navigator's President & CEO, Ken Berger.

Research Before You Give

This news report from WAVY-TV covers our tips for making an informed gift.

Research before you donate: wavy.com

Monday’s Update On Japan Quake/Tsunami Giving

  • 1,543 donations have been made via Charity Navigator’s site (using Network for Good) to the charities responding.

  • The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that more than $105 million has been donated thus far. This is still significantly less than how much people gave 7 days after Haiti (>$275 million) and 6 days after Katrina ($457 million).

  • The bulk of that money continues to flow to the American Red Cross ($76 million) of which $3.2 million came from text donations.
Photo provided by Shutterstock.com

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday's Japan Giving Update

A week after the quake and tsunami in Japan, Americans have given $87 million to help. The American Red Cross is still way out ahead having raised $64 million thus far. Save the Children is still the next runner up with $5.8 million. Overall, the level of giving to Japan's relief efforts still lags behind giving levels after Katrinia and Haiti.

Today, we’ve refined our list of charities responding. Not only are they only 3 and 4-star charities, but they’ve also responded to our request for additional information about their efforts in Japan. They’ve also clarified for us their position on designated funds.
  • Some of them are accepting designated funds for Japan and promising to only use them for that endeavor.
  • Others are accepting designated funds, but leaving the door open to the possibility of using that money elsewhere if it isn’t all needed in Japan.
  • And a few are not accepting designated gifts at all. Instead they are asking donors to trust them to make the best choice on when and where to use the money.

None of these positions are wrong so long as the donor has a clear understanding of the charity’s approach. And that’s what we’ve attempted to help donors determine with today’s update.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Latest Figures On Japan Quake/Tsunami Donations

The Chronicle of Philanthropy is reporting that charities have raised $64 million for their work in Japan. The American Red Cross has raised the most ($47 million) and Save the Children has raised the second most ($4.6 million).

In contrast, charities had raised >$210 million 6 days after Haiti and $457 million 6 days after Katrina. In Ken Berger's NBC interview, he discusses some of the reasons why giving to this disaster lags behind others.

Photo provided by Shutterstock.

Charity Navigator On CNN - How To Avoid Charity Scams

Charity Navigator's Ken Berger shares five ways to avoid fundraising scams when donating money. More tips can be found here.

Happy St. Patrick's Day

US-Ireland Alliance

Green Corps

Greenhill Humane Society

Patrick Henry Boys and Girls Plantation

Each day, based on a particular holiday (like St. Patrick's Day) or a current event, Charity Navigator's experts select 4-5 highly-rated charities to highlight. Subscribe now.

Photo provided by Shutterstock.com.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Japan Giving Update

We posted yesterday that giving to Japan was at $24 million. Today, the Chronicle of Philanthropy says that figure is up to >$47 million. The pace of giving remains slower than after Hurricane Katrina and the Haiti earthquake. Of the charities reporting their fundraising figures, with $34 million in donations, the American Red Cross has raised the most.
Photo provided by Shutterstock.com.

Wednesday's Video

Informative reporting by Jesse Jones from KING 5 News in Seattle.

Go here to see Charity Navigator's tips for giving to Japan quake/tsunami relief organizations.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Update On Giving Figures For Japan

The latest figures show that:

  • Network for Good (which Charity Navigator has partnered with to process donation via our site) has processed over $1 million in donations for charities responding.
  • Charities are reporting $24 million in donations thus far. The pace of giving is much slower than after Haiti (>$150 million was raised within the first 4 days) and Katrina (> $108 million raised within the first 4 days).
  • Donors continue to be interested in text-message donations in times of disaster as the American Red Cross reports receiving $1.6-million in text-message donations. However, giving is at a slower pace than after the Haiti earthquake when the American Red Cross raised more than $8-million from text-messages in the first 48 hours.
  • Corporations, like Caterpillar and JPMorgan Chase, are starting to announce their gifts to Japan relief and recovery efforts.
  • Charities are starting to report on their specific efforts to help.

Monday, March 14, 2011

NJ Charities

Last month, 200+ charities participated in a survey conducted by the Center for Non-Profits. The charities were asked to report on such things as their fundraising performance for 2010 and to make predictions for the coming year. Here are some of the results:
  • 73% reported an increase in the demand for their services in 2010

  • 34% had a decline in funding in 2010

  • 36% saw their expenses exceeded revenue

To deal with these issues,

  • 43% froze or cut salaries

  • 36% cut staff

  • 27% reduced staff hours

  • 23% reduced employee benefits

  • 36% recruited more volunteers

  • 49% launched new partnerships/ collaborations

  • 3% completed a merger (9% had explored the possibility)

And for 2011

  • 72% expect demand to continue to rise

  • 65% expect total expenses to increase

  • 38% expect funding to increase

  • 25% predict a drop in funding

  • 16% are considering mergers

You can read the full report online: New Jersey Non-Profits 2011: Trends and Outlook.

Photo provided by Shutterstock.

Friday, March 11, 2011

How to Help the Victims of the Japan Quake & Tsunami

Please visit our site for a list of charities that are working to provide relief to the victims in Japan. There you will also find tips to help you make the most of your donation.

Earthquakes and Tsunamis

If you've watched the news at all this morning, then you'll know that there is a tsunami alert for New Zealand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Hawaii, the U.S. West Coast and other areas. Waves are expected over the next few hours, caused by 8.9 earthquake in Japan, where there was also a destructive tsunami.

As we learn of charities responding, we will post that here.

Join Our Online Community

Come join our 1,000+ friends on facebook and our 6,000+ followers on Twitter. We want to hear from you.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ready, Set, Review!

Have you ever received help from a charity? Or have you donated your time as a volunteer or Board member? Or have you been a financial supporter of a charity? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, then we want to hear from you about your personal experiences with those specific charities!

All we ask is for just a few minutes out of your day to review one of the 5,500 charities on our site. By sharing your story, you’ll help the millions of people who rely on Charity Navigator’s ratings make more informed decisions about which charities to support.

Write a Review now!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Crawfish and Cookies

This morning, I woke up excited for Fat Tuesday. I just love the music (zydeco, cajun, jazz) and food (crawfish and king cake) that goes along with this festive holiday.

Of course, it is impossible to think about Mardi Gras without conjuring up images of New Orleans and the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. It is hard to believe that this August will mark the 6th anniversary of the flood. And still nearly 1/3 of the residents haven’t yet recovered. If you want to take this occasion to make a donation to help keep those recovery efforts on track, then check out our site here, here and here for charities that continue to work in the region.

On a side note, I thought it was pretty fitting that today’s featured charities (see our homepage) are centered on Girl Scout Week. So, you have multiple ways to celebrate Fat Tuesday--- whether that is by supporting a New Orleans charity or by purchasing some yummy Girl Scout cookies to add to your Mardi Gras inspired feast.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday Morning Movie - Another Sad Telemarketing Story

This story, by WWL-TV, shows how little money the 0-star Wishing Well Foundation USA actually puts towards its charitable mission. Where did all the money go? To the telemarketing firms raising money for this charity.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Not All Charities Are Created Equal: Charity Navigator Invites You to Write a Review!

This week, Charity Navigator and GreatNonprofits launched an exciting new partnership to display stakeholder reviews of charities on charity profile pages. Over the past few months, we’ve talked a lot about CN 2.0 and our plans to add new dimensions to our ratings. GreatNonprofits shares our goal of presenting the most complete picture of the charities, and the addition of stakeholder reviews to Charity Navigator is an important step in building our resource and broadening the way we evaluate charities.

As Charity Navigator users you have an important opportunity to participate in our mission to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace. We need your help to provide reviews about charities. By sharing your story as a donor, volunteer, client served, board member or other constituent, you help others learn of personal experiences with the charity. As a result of your efforts, you can help people to determine which organizations are truly making a difference and where to direct their money and resources as a result.

Why are reviews important? A recent eMarketer.com report predicted that by early 2011, 80% of retailers would implement user review functionality on their websites. This means that consumers are spending more time researching before making decisions and the role of user reviews in that process is undeniable. In fact, 65% of people surveyed answered “always” or “most of the time” when asked how often they read user reviews before making a purchase.

The charities listed on Charity Navigator are among the largest in America that depend on support from the public. Collectively they receive a third of all private contributions. This means that your feedback has the ability to influence approximately $100 billion dollars in donations.

To write a review, search for the organization you’d like to review, and click the “Reviews” tab from their charity profile. You’ll fill out a simple questionnaire, and your review will be posted immediately as a resource for others who are researching that organization. It usually only takes 3 minutes.

We also encourage you to read user reviews when researching where to make your next donation. The experience of another donor, or the story of a client whose life was changed by a charity’s services, might prove helpful in deciding which charity you wish to support.

For more information about user reviews, please visit our site.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Rate A Charity To Help Others Make Informed Giving Choices

Hey donors, we’ve got big news for you! Now, you can write a review of your favorite and not-so-favorite charities on Charity Navigator’s site thanks to our new partnership with GreatNonprofits, the leading developer of tools that allow people to review charities.

If you’ve had a direct experience with a charity --- as a donor, volunteer, board member, community partner, recipient of the charity’s service or other stakeholder --- then we want to hear from you! To get started, simply go to our website and click the “Write A Review” tab at the top of the site. That page also contains a list of Charity Navigator rated charities that have been reviewed .

March Update

This month we’ve published more than 300 new ratings and we added 10 new charities to our site. Some of the notable updates and additions include:

And for those of you who regularly use our site, you’ll notice it has a new look this month as we’ve moved many of our top page tabs (about us, methodology, articles) to the bottom of the site. We hope you find this and the other small aesthetic changes appealing.

Photo from Shutterstock.com.