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, April 28, 2012

Consumers, corporations come together to support causes this Mother’s Day

Guest post by Scott Garell, CEO of GoodSearch 

Whether it’s feeding the homeless, supporting an after school program or curing cancer, there is a growing trend of people incorporating philanthropic giving into their everyday lives. Millions of consumers are already helping more than 105,000 non-profits and schools when they search the internet, shop online or dine out.

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.  They began with GoodSearch.com, a Yahoo-powered search engine which donates about a penny a search to your favorite cause. They followed that success with GoodShop.com, a shopping portal which donates a percentage of your purchase at more than 2,600 stores (including Amazon, Expedia, Staples, Williams Sonoma and others) to your favorite cause.  In November 2011, they partnered with Rewards Network to launch GoodDining, a program that allows diners to earn donations at over 10,000 restaurants nationwide. As a result, more than $8 million has been directed to the charities and schools designated by its users. 
GoodSearch: You Search...We Give!

4-star UNICEF has used the money earned from GoodSearch and GoodShop to provide clean drinking water to more than 200,000 children; the 3-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.  And, with a recent site update, both users and organizations can track their earnings right on the GoodSearch website.  Users can also now review individual charity profile pages to select charities to support based on their descriptions, number of supporters and activity levels.

As Mother’s Day approaches and people begin ordering flowers and making dinner plans, consider making your purchases through GoodShop or make reservations at a GoodDining restaurant to ensure that every gift and every meal also results in a donation to mom's favorite cause.  To find out more about about GoodSearch and how you can participate, go here.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Do You Donate Online?

Every year, more donors are giving online. Just how much? To help answer that question, we took at look at three sources of data:  Network for Good's Online Giving Index, The Chronicle of Philanthropy and The Blackbaud Index of Online Giving. We've posted the highlights from each of those studies in a new article  on our site.

Photo: robertlamphoto via Shutterstock.com 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Nonprofit Outcome Toolbox Wins An Award

Dr. Penna has just won an award for his book, The Nonprofit Outcomes Toolbox : A Complete Guide to Program Effectiveness, Performance Measurement, and Results, which includes a foreword by Charity Navigator’s President & CEO, Ken Berger.  As Dr. Penna explains, the book “is guide to the application of outcomes and results-based program planning and management, primarily for the nonprofit sector.  It is also a workbook, with exercises following every topic discussed so that readers can practice using the ideas that were covered in what they just read.”

The award, The Skystone Partners Prize for Research on Fundraising and Philanthropy, is given annually by the Association of Fundraising Professional Research Council to the author of a book that contributes substantially to the knowledge and understanding of fundraising or philanthropic behavior.  The AFP Research Council had this to say about Dr. Penna and his book:

This volume was selected with intentional recognition that fundraising takes place within the larger organizational context.  Success in fundraising serves, but is also served by, overall organizational effectiveness.  This book provides an accessible and comprehensive set of tools for promoting that effectiveness.  In keeping with the qualifications and criteria for this AFP research prize, Dr. Penna’s book is outstanding.

Please join the Charity Navigator in extending heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Penna for this well-deserved award!
Not only is Dr. Penna an accomplished writer and nonprofit professional, but he is also Charity Navigator’s International Coordinator .

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Welcome Aboard to the Foundation Center's Training

You may know that our friends at the Foundation Center offer a lot of great programs and services - including the Form 990 Finder which we use on our site. But did you know that their training sessions educate thousands of grantseekers, students, artists, and nonprofit professionals online and in-person each year—in more than 450 locations worldwide? Well, fasten your seatbelts, check out this video and prepare to learn the skills that will help your nonprofit succeed.

Monday, April 23, 2012

One Report Says Giving Increased in 2011

According to a study by Atlas of Giving, total giving to U.S. nonprofits rose by 7.5% in 2011, an increase of $24.2 billion over the 2010 total of $322.69 billion. The report also predicts that overall giving is expected to grow 3.9% in 2012 to $360 billion.

Giving USA's report (which we reference on our site) isn't due out until June 2012. It will be interesting to see how their data on 2011 giving compares to the Atlas of Giving.

Friday, April 20, 2012

How Do You Teach Financial Literacy To Your Kids?

A recent article reminds all parents to make an effort to teach their kids how to be financially savvy. In particular, I liked #4 on the list. Here it is:

4. Donating to a charity: Likewise, foster a generous spirit in your children by encouraging them to share a portion of their money with a worthy charity or cause. You can help them find and evaluate charities on sites such as Charity Navigator. Making a donation is also an excellent segue into a discussion on taxes and how charitable donations may enable deductions.

How do you teach financial literacy in your home? And do you talk to your kids about creating a plan for giving back?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

How Long Have You Been a Charity Navigator User?

Long enough to remember when our site looked like this back when we launched in  April 2002?

Our site has changed a lot since then.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Congressional Recognition of Our Birthday!

We want to thank U.S. Congressman Scott Garrett (from our local New Jersey 5th district) and his staff for taking the time to help us celebrate our 10 years of service to the nonprofit sector. The lovely certificate Congressman Garrett sent us now hangs in our office.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

We're 10 Today!

Ten years ago, Charity Navigator was created based on one family’s dream. John Dugan, a successful entrepreneur, and his wife Marion, were surprised to learn how little expert information was available to them when it came time to share their good fortune with those in need. Within months (on April 15, 2002 to be exact), they launched a web site to provide other donors with  data-driven, unbiased rating evaluations, along with a wealth of other information and tools. 

Our impact on American giving cannot be overstated. The number of visits to our web site has grown from a few thousand in 2002 to nearly five million this past year. Furthermore, the millions of visitors to our web site are estimated to donate $10 billion annually. The vast majority indicate that Charity Navigator is the sole or primary resource they utilize to make their charitable giving decisions

The mission of Charity Navigator when we launched in 2002 and now remains the same - to be a “guide to intelligent giving”. Please visit our homepage to learn how you can join in with us in our celebrations and help ensure that we continue to fulfill our mission for another ten years.

Photo Credit: Ruth Black via Shutterstock.com

Friday, April 13, 2012

Mother's Day Gift Idea

Mother's Day is one month from today!

No gift yet? Don't fret! 
Give her a Good Card - the charitable gift card that let's her pick the charity.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Billions of Dollars Donated by Millions of Users

That's right! Since Charity Navigator was launched 10 years ago, millions of donors have used our site to guide them in giving away billions of dollars to charities. Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and craigconnects, and Ken Berger, President & CEO of Charity Navigator, have written an article that takes a look at Charity Navigator's influence. You can read it:


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Are You Guilty of this Bad Habit?

I came across an article recently that listed 7 bad decisions wealthy people make with their money. Number 5 immediately caught my eye.  Here it is:

5) Charitable giving is haphazard and unfulfilling.
Most wealthy givers donate based on obligation, personal relationships or whichever charity catches them at the right time. It doesn’t have to be this way. Charitable giving can be a fulfilling endeavor and there are some good tools that can help you align your money and passions. CharityNavigator.org is a good place to start.
Of course, I can’t disagree with the last sentence. But I do disagree that this tip only applies to the 1% -- or even the 5% or 10%. This applies to all of us donors. We all need to me more thoughtful in our charitable endeavors.

It really doesn’t take much time to map out a charitable giving plan. Use your time stuck in lines, commuting to work or in the dentist chair to start thinking about which charitable causes are most important to you and how much you can afford to give. Then, the next time you’re online, stop by Charity Navigator to find some really great charities doing that work. Finally, make a commitment to support those charities and a promise to yourself to say no to your old haphazard giving ways!

Photo by  iQoncept via Shutterstock.com.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Dallas-Fort Worth Hit By Tornadoes

Multiple tornadoes hit Dallas-Fort Worth metro area today. There are reports that homes have been leveled and cars crushed.

So far, we know these charities are responding:

We will update this blog as we become aware of more charities helping in the relief and recovery.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

No April Fools Here!

No, this is no joke! Our analysts have been very busy over the last month and they have a lot to show for it. Today, we published more than 860 updated charity ratings.  We also added almost two dozen new charities to our site.  And 5 charities earned their 10th consecutive 4-star rating!

10th consecutive 4-star ratings went to:
Updated charities include:
New charities include:

Photo by Liubov via Shutterstock.com.