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 28, 2012

Superstorm Sandy Impacts NYC & NJ Food Banks

Photo via Bigstock.com

Programs and services set up in NYC to house the homeless and feed those in need, are being put to the test with an increase in demand post Superstorm Sandy. Once charity that has stepped up to the challenge of helping feed New Yorkers impacted by the storm is 4-star City Harvest (featured as “Charity of the Week” in this week’s issue of The Week). This week alone, the charity reports that their trucks will deliver hundreds of thousands of pounds of food to emergency food programs across with city, including 11,000 turkeys.

Of course, food banks in NJ are seeing a similar increase in demand for their services post Sandy. The 4-star  charity, Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, says it distributed food for more than 1 million meals since Sandy hit. Another 4-star charity, the Community FoodBank of New Jersey is providing a daily distribution of more than 100,000 pounds of food to families facing loss and rebuilding since the storm.

You can find more information about these three charities, as well as many others responding to Superstorm Sandy, on our site here

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

It's #GivingTuesday. Get Out The Give!

Today is #GivingTuesday, a national day of giving. 
Join the celebration by donating to a worthy charity.

Need some help picking a charity to support? Not to worry, we offer nearly 6,000 charity ratings, giving tips and top (and bottom) charity lists. And once you select a charity on our site, all you need to do is click on the Donate Now button to make your donation.

Find A Charity Now

P.S. As we work hard to bring you hundreds of new charity ratings each month and CN 3.0 (an expanded rating system that examines each charity's results reporting) beginning in early 2013, we hope you’ll remember us on this #GivingTuesday, too!  Thank you!

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Countdown Is On!

Black Friday, Cyber Monday? Redeem your good karma on #GivingTuesday by supporting (with time or money) a highly-rated charity. Visit our website now to find charities that match your philanthropic passions.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Thanksgiving Thanks from a Charity Navigator Fan

This is why we do what we do here at Charity Navigator.

"I simply want to offer my thanks to you for the wonderful work that you and the staff do for charities. Donating to charity is hugely important to my husband and me, and I refuse to give to any organization until I first check them out with you. I'm convinced that the guidance you provide has enabled us to give our hard-earned dollars to worthy organizations. A few years ago, my husband and I very much wanted to donate money for research for two causes, and we found 4-star rated funds on your site that we did not previously know about. I assume that you all don't make that much money in your roles, but you are very much appreciated! Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!" ~ Charity Navigator User

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Providing Holiday Meals to the Less Fortunate

Person in Apron holding Turkey via Bigstock.com
Of all the festivities associated with the winter holidays, the one thing many people look forward to most is the big holiday meal. Whether it’s turkey on Thanksgiving, a Christmas ham, or a pot roast at a Hanukah dinner, food is indelibly intertwined with our holiday celebrations.

Generous donors, thankful for the opportunity to feast with family and friends, are also moved this time of year to help provide holiday meals to the less fortunate. While there are many efficient, well-run charities that offer holiday meals to those in need, there are also some who spend their money inefficiently, often spending a large portion of your donation on fundraising. 

So, before you write that check, visit our site for tips on how to select a charity that will make the most of your gift. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Give a Gift that Supports Charities

Skip the shopping lines this Friday. Instead, sleep late and get a holiday gift that everyone will love and that also supports charities. 

Check out the Good Card.

The last day to order for Christmas delivery via postal mail is December 12, 2012. After that date, simply choose email or print-at-home for immediate delivery.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

#GivingTuesday Is Almost Here

#GivingTuesday is just two weeks away. 
How do you plan to participate? Leave a comment and let us know.
Don't know what #GivingTuesday is? Find out here.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Optimize Your Generosity

This funny video takes one from our play book --- after a disaster give cash, not supplies. To quote our tips:

Do Not Send SuppliesKnowing that people are desperately in need of basic supplies like food, water and shelter, it is hard not to want to pack up and send a box of supplies. But this type of philanthropy is simply not practical or efficient. Even if mail could get to an impacted region, no one is set up to receive these goods, much less organize and distribute them to the victims. Furthermore, charities are often able to partner with companies to acquire large amounts of in-kind donations such as bottled water and new clothing. Instead of boxing up and sending your old clothing, have a garage sale and turn your used goods into cash and donate that to a worthy charity.

Please keep this in mind as you consider your options for supporting Hurricane Sandy relief and recovery efforts.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Who Gives More? Conservatives or Liberals?

According to research by Arthur Brooks, which is detailed in his book, the answer is conservatives. Research into IRS tax data from 2008 by the Chronicle of Philanthropy similarly shows that states that had voted republican in the last presidential election gave more to charity that states that supported the democrat.

But new research out of MIT suggests that political views do not predict HOW much a donor will give. Rather it can be a predictor of WHICH causes a donor is more likely to support. This study claims that conservatives are more likely to support religious groups and liberals prefer to support secular groups.

Photo via BigStock
No matter which side of the political spectrum you fall on (and how you'll feel after tonight's election), there is one thing we can agree on - we can all do our part to continue to support America's philanthropic sector. Just be sure to take the time to find great charities worthy of your support. Then give generously! 

Friday, November 2, 2012

It's Happening Again: Part 2

After Hurricane Katrina, the FBI reported the creation of more than 4,000 bogus websites designed to steal would-be donors' money and personal information. Many of them looked like legitimate charity websites, but were run by overseas crooks.

Photo via BigStock
Sadly, the criminals are up to no good again post Hurricane Sandy. Authorities are reporting that more than 1,000 internet addresses related to the Hurricane were registered since last Friday (before the storm even hit!).

Be sure to read our Tips for Giving In Times Of Crisis, and check our list of rated charities that are responding, so you can avoid falling victim to one of these online scams.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

It’s Happening Again

After Hurricane Katrina, we got lots of emails everyday from folks looking to host a displaced family. While I commend their generosity (at least those who didn't include stipulations such as the victims needed to serve as a nanny or do housework) I worry about the practicality of the idea. How do you know the person is truly a victim? How do you know that they’ll honor your generosity and not steal or hurt you?

Post Hurricane Sandy, I’m seeing the same response. Caring Americans are offering to take in victims.

I would encourage those who have such inspiration in their hearts to instead consider a donation to a charity providing food, shelter and other basic needs – such as the American Red Cross. They've opened a shelter down the road from me, so I've been able to see firsthand how they’re helping. And, if you want to host someone because you don’t have the financial means to give a donation, you can donate blood to the Red Cross or, if you are in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, consider directly helping out a neighbor in need.