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, 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.

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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