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, 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.