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.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Massive 'Rim' Wildfire in California

In just 8 days, the California Rim Fire burned more than 224 square miles including parts of the Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park. Thousands of firefighters have been deployed to put out the fire and as of today, they say it is about 30% contained. 

At this point, we know of two charities that are responding.

  • The 4-star Yosemite Conservancy is seeking funds to restore trails, facilities and wildlife habitat destroyed by fire.
  • The 3-star American Red Cross has shelters open and is providing assistance to people who have been  forced out of their homes by the fire.

When a Charity Calls Thursday Tip: Find Out Who's Calling

Our tip series (Intelligent Giving Friday Tip) that we started in June, ended recently. We are now starting a new series: When a Charity Calls Thursday Tip. We hope you enjoy and please feel free to suggest new series we can consider for the future.

Find Out Who's Calling

Many phone calls soliciting charitable donations come from for-profit professional telemarketers that keep a sizable portion of your donation for themselves and don't really care about the cause they're promoting. Find out if the person with whom you are speaking works for a telemarketing company or is a volunteer or employee of the charity itself.

Remember; it never hurts to ask: 'Who is this please?'

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My Donating World Has Changed For The Better!

Today, we received a lovely note from a new Charity Navigator user. Here's part of what he had to say:

I am an educated ninety-year old man who has been donating (not large amounts) to various charities for 65 years. In years past, I have been suspicious about some of the solicitations I have received, but have never found what seemed to be a trustworthy source to investigate them. Today, while researching a donation request I came across a suggestion to look into CharityNavigator.org. I did, and my donating world has changed- for the better. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pools, Bowling Alleys and Ice Rinks

We just received a donation from Ryan, a 7th grader who included a note with his gift to Charity Navigator. In the letter he says, "I am donating $8 because I feel sad for people that have problems that other people don't have. It must be hard finding charities to donate money to because charities can use the money for lame items like a pool, bowling alley, and ice rinks." And he goes on to say that donors are fortunate to have Charity Navigator to help them make smart giving decisions. 

Ryan, we thank you for your gift and we will continue to work hard rating charities so that you can steer clear of those that waste donations on lame items!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Food for Thought: Volunteer and Get Hired?

Many college students and graduates do internships to gain skills, experience so that they appeal to hiring managers when they graduate. Yet many overlook volunteering. It turns out Americans aged 20-24 volunteer the least out of any age group.

According to a survey of human-resource executives, skilled volunteer work (such as helping a nonprofit with their finances) makes job applicants look more appealing to hiring managers.

Who benefits from volunteering? The volunteer gains valuable experience and appeals more to hiring managers, nonprofits gain from the additional resources and hiring managers gain from the increased talent pool. Do I hear a win-win?

Happy Volunteering!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Our Newsletter Delivers Smart Giving Tips

Our monthly newsletters, distributed on the first Wednesday of each month, include:
  • Updates on our popular Top 10 lists
  • Lists of charities with new ratings
  • Notification when we add new charities
  • Announcements about new tools for registered users and changes to our methodology
  • Donating tips such as how to maximize the tax benefit of your charitable donation, how to react when a charity calls seeking a donation, how to be the most informed donor
  • A report from our President & CEO
  • Links to our blogs
  • Answers to frequently asked questions
  • And much more
You can't get this information anywhere else, so sign up today! Click here to subscribe and we promise to send you the information you need to be a more informed donor with greater confidence in all your charitable pursuits.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Intelligent Giving Friday Tip: Share Your Intentions And Make A Long-Term Commitment

Share Your Intentions And Make A Long-Term Commitment

Smart donors support their favorite charities for the long haul. They see themselves as a partner in the charity's efforts to bring about change. They know that only with long-term, committed supporters can a charity be successful. And they don't hesitate to tell the charity of their giving plans so that the organization knows it can rely on the donor and the charity doesn't have to waste resources and harass the donor by sending numerous solicitations.

This is the last in this series of 'Intelligent Giving Friday' tips. Stay tuned next week to see what new series we commence! Hint: It should come live on Thursday. Have a great weekend.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Intelligent Giving Friday Tip: Concentrate Your Giving

Concentrate Your Giving

When it comes to financial investments, diversification is the key to reducing risk. The opposite is true for philanthropic investments. If you've really taken the time to identify a well-run charity that is engaged in a cause that you are passionate about, you should then feel confident in giving it a donation. Spreading your money among multiple organizations not only results in your mail box filling up with more appeals, it also diminishes the possibility of any of those groups bringing about substantive change as each charity is wasting part of your gift on processing expenses for that gift.

Have a great, concentrated weekend everyone!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August Updates and Additions

August Updates and Additions

Summer is in full swing and after a beautiful weekend, we have updated the site with 108 newly added charity ratings and 691 charities with updated ratings. 

Some interesting additions are:

Check out all the additions here.

Charities "on the move":

Moving Up
Check out all movers here.

Moving Down

Friday, August 2, 2013

Intelligent Giving Friday Tip: Start A Dialogue To Investigate a Charity's Programmatic Results

Start A Dialogue To Investigate Its Programmatic Results

Although it takes some effort on their part to assess a charity's programmatic impact, donors who are committed to advancing real change believe that it is worth their time. Before they make a contribution, they talk with the charity to learn about its accomplishments, goals and challenges. These donors are prepared to walk away from any charity that is unable or unwilling to participate in this type of conversation.

Charity Navigator has begun to investigate each charity's Results Reporting. You can learn about our expanded methodology  here.

Have a great first weekend of August!