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.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Save The Date - November 27, 2012

Celebrate a new day in the Holiday Season – #GivingTuesday    by giving wisely.
Visit our site for details now!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Celebrating Success!

Plan International USA recently earned their first 4-star rating. 

To celebrate this accomplishment, they indulged blue star-shaped cookies, cake and blueberry tea.  
Cake enjoyed by staff 

Staff enjoying blue star-shaped cookies and blueberry tea

And for a party game, they competed in a quiz about Charity Navigator. 

Winners of Charity Navigator quiz in with Board Member Walter Stone

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Consistently Low Rated Charities

Last week, on this blog, we discussed the good --- the fact that most charities we rate earn high marks. This week, we’re going to talk a closer look at the bad and the ugly --- the 34 charities that consistently earn 0-star ratings. Remember, in our rating system 0-star charities are considered  "Exceptionally Poor."

Charities with Consecutive 0-Star Ratings
  • 16 have received two consecutive 0-star ratings
  • 7 have received three
  • 3 have received four
  • 3 have received six
  • 1 has received seven
  • 3 have received eight
  • 1 has received nine
Here are the organizations that have at least 6 consecutive 0-star ratings:

Number of Consecutive 0-Star Ratings
National Veterans Services Fund, Inc.
Firefighters Charitable Foundation
Children's Charity Fund, Inc.
The Committee for Missing Children
Wishing Well Foundation USA
Shiloh International Ministries
Texas Stampede
Disabled Police Officers Counseling Center

Monday, September 17, 2012

Consistently Excellent Charities Of All Kinds

In our last blog post, we revealed that 964 charities have earned at least two consecutive 4-star ratings. Today, we’re going to take a look at their distribution among all of the categories of charities. We see certain categories do have a greater concentration of these charities than others. As the following table shows, 31% of the Human Services charities have at least two consecutive 4-star ratings whereas only 3% of the Arts, Culture, Humanities charities meet this benchmark.

Human Services
Public Benefit
Arts, Culture, Humanities

Even though some categories have more consistently excellent charities than others, each category has at least 30+ charities with 2 or more consecutive 4-stars. As such, no matter the donor’s philanthropic passion, a consistently excellent charity can be found.

And the answer from yesterday’s blog: The Children’s Aid Society is the only charity to date that has earned 12 consecutive 4-star ratings.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Monitoring the Long Term Performance of Charities

Since launching our site in 2002, our team of professional analysts has completed and published tens of thousands of ratings --- making us the largest charity rating service in the world!

Reviewing the wealth of historical data we've collected, it is apparent that there are far more charities committed to accountability & transparency as well as financial excellence than there are charities with unethical and inefficient operations. Most of the charities we currently rate have either a 3-star or 4-star overall rating. Only 2% have either a 0-star rating or a Donor Advisory.

Keeping in mind that the average charity in our database has received 8 ratings, with 15 being the maximum number of evaluations a single charity has received, let's look at how many charities have had consecutive 4-star ratings .

Charities with Consecutive 4-Star Ratings

  • 442 have earned two consecutive 4-star ratings
  • 162 have earned three
  • 104 have earned four
  • 86 have earned five
  • 52 have earned six
  • 35 have earned seven
  • 27 have earned eight
  • 19 have earned nine
  • 20 have earned ten
  • 16 have earned eleven
  • 1 has earned twelve (Can you guess which one? We’ll reveal the answer in tomorrow’s blog)
Accessing Historical Data

How can you find out if your charity has a track record of consecutive 4-stars? Simply click on the “Historical Data” tab found on the charity’s page on our site. That will reveal an overview of the charity’s past performance. And by clicking on the “View detailed side-by-side” link you can pull up detailed data on the charity’s prior ratings. (Note: You must be a registered user of our site to access the historical information, but registration is 100% free and just takes a few minutes to complete.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Reason #589 To Hang Up On Telemarketers

This video and the associated article from Bloomberg Markets is yet another reminder why you should NEVER give when solicited on the phone. Just hang up on those telemarketers

Hear Our CEO Speak

Charity Navigator's President & CEO, Ken Berger, will be the lead speaker at the 3rd Annual Executive Forum - Insights and Opportunities for Not-for-Profit and Educational Institutions, presented by O’Connor Davies, LLP.  Mr. Berger will speak on the topic, The Battle for Accountability and Transparency in the Nonprofit Sector.

The complimentary Executive Forum will be held October 23, 2012 at the Yale Club in New York City from 8:00 am to 10:45 am.
Learn more and register now.

O'Connor Davies, LLP is a full service Certified Public Accounting and consulting firm that has a long history of serving clients both domestically and internationally and providing specialized professional services of the highest quality.  With roots tracing to 1891, seven offices located in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, and approximately 400 professionals including 70 partners, the Firm provides a complete range of accounting, auditing, tax and management advisory services.  O’Connor Davies is ranked as number 39 in Accounting Today's 2012 "Top 100 Firms" in the United States.  The Firm is also within the 20 largest accounting firms in the New York Metropolitan area according to Crain's New York Business and the Westchester and Fairfield County Business Journals.  O’Connor Davies is dedicated to serving the not-for-profit sector and educational institutions and serves more than 1,400 not-for-profit organizations.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Impact of 9/11 Charities

Watch this TV segment to learn why our President & CEO said, "we think it's a real waste of money when these kind of expensive events cost so much money" about a 9/11 related charity.

Eleven Year Anniversary of 9/11 Terrorist Attacks

Hard to believe it has been 11 years since the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks. Today, we remember the terrible loss, the charitable response and the patriotic feelings. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

This Video Was a Marketing Success

Back in March, Invisible Children made a big splash when it released a video, Kony 2012. The goal of the video was to build awareness of Joseph Kony's terrorizing of Ugandans and raise support for his arrest. However, shortly after the release of the video, the charity found itself dealing with a lot of critics who questioned everything from the appropriateness of its approach to solving such a serious problem, to its financial health. We even weighed in on some of the criticism on our site here.

Now, several months later, a new article in Bloomberg Businessweek, takes a look at whether or not the video was a marketing success. And given stats reported in the article, it sure seems like it was! Within a week of the video's release,  more than 112 million people had seen it. That's on par with the number of people who watch the Super Bowl each year. In fact, the Kony 2012 video was viewed by more people in a shorter amount of time than any other video in the history of the Internet. Furthermore, one poll run 10 days after the video's release found that 52% of U.S. adults had heard of Kony 2012 and about 25% of those 18 to 29 had watched it.

But as our own Ken Berger comments in the article, this marketing success simply means that “he who has the best marketing wins.” Instead of focusing on the charity with the best marketing, we need to be looking for the charities with the most impressive results. Of course, just as Mr. Berger goes on to say, "awareness is a very hard thing to be able to measure and determine."