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.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Intelligent Giving Friday Tip: Be Careful of Sound-Alike Names

Be Careful Of Sound-Alike Names

Uninformed donors are easily confused by charities that have strikingly similar names to others. How many of us could tell the difference between an appeal from the Children's Charity Fund and the Children's Defense Fund? Their names sound the same, but their performances are vastly different. Would you be surprised to learn that the Children's Charity Fund is a 0-star charity while the Children's Defense Fund is a 3-star charity? Informed donors take the time to uncover the difference.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Volunteer a Day Keeps the Doctor Away?

Great news! 

Want a medicine-free alternative to help prevent high blood pressure? Add volunteering to your routine! 

Researchers have found that volunteering can help reduce older adults' risk of high blood pressure. Why? It is a positive lifestyle factor that also increases social interaction which has been proven to promote healthy aging.

Check out our Guide to Volunteering to get started!

"Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves." - James M. Barrie

Friday, June 21, 2013

Intelligent Giving Friday Tip: Eliminate The Middleman

Hang Up The Phone / Eliminate The Middleman

Informed donors recognize that for-profit fundraisers, those often used in charitable telemarketing campaigns, keep a large portion (in some cases all) of each dollar they collect (read our report about  telemarketing for more specifics on the costs affiliated with this form of fundraising). Wise donors never give out their personal information – like credit card accounts, social security numbers – over the phone. If they like what they hear in the pitch, they'll hang up, investigate the charity on-line and send their contribution directly to the charity, thereby cutting out the middleman and ensuring 100% of their donation reaches the charity. Taking it a step further, donors may want to reconsider supporting a charity that uses an inefficient telemarketing approach and instead identify a charity that does not use telemarketing to raise funds. 

A recent study, "The 50 worst Charities In America," conducted by the Tampa Bay Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), confirms this tip.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Donors Beware - Fraudulent Fundraising Letter

There may be a fraudulent fundraising letter circulating, according to Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura. The organization listed on the letter is the United States Deputy Sheriff's AssociationThis organization receives a 0-star rating which is our very worst rating.

The association alleges to be dedicated to officer survival training and seeks donations to underwrite its programs. But Sherif Fontoura said "this organization is not connected with any legitimate police, sheriff’s or public safety department as far as we can tell.” 

This is just another reminder to give intelligently, do your due diligence and beware. Please c
heck out our Top 10 Best Practices for Savvy Donors for more tips on how to be an informed giver.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Intelligent Giving Friday Tip: Be Proactive in Your Giving

Be Proactive In Your Giving 

Smart givers generally don't give reactively in a knee-jerk fashion. They don't respond to the first organization that appeals for help. They take the time to identify which causes are most important to their families and they are specific about the change they want to affect. For example, they don't just support generic cancer charities, but instead have targeted goals for their giving, such as providing mammograms to at-risk women in their community.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

How Does Your City's Charities Stack Up?

We've just published our most recent Metro Market Study - a report that compares the financial performance, the size, the accountability and the transparency of the largest nonprofits in the 30 largest metropolitan markets represented in our database of 6,000+ charities

The 30 Metro Markets are: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Colorado Springs, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/ St. Paul, Nashville, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Washington, DC.

In terms of their overall Financial Health and commitment to Accountability & Transparency, the study’s highest and lowest rated charitable communities are:
Highest Rated
Current RankingPrevious Ranking
1) San Diego1) Houston
2) Houston2) Kansas City
3) Kansas City3) St. Louis
4) Cincinnati4) Cincinnati
5) San Francisco5) Portland

Lowest Rated          
Current RankingPrevious Ranking
30) Indianapolis30) Orlando
29) Orlando29) Tampa/ St. Petersburg
28) Nashville28) Indianapolis
27) Atlanta27) Milwaukee
26) Miami26) Miami

Monday, June 3, 2013

New Office

Here we are today in our new office getting down to work and still unpacking.