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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, February 18, 2014

An Update on our Charity Data

As of February 1, Charity Navigator has 7,000 charity evaluations on its website.
  • In their most recent fiscal year, these charities generated approximately ­­$227 billion in total revenue. 
  • Of this $227 billion in total revenue, $204 billion came from the charities’ primary revenue sources.
  • More than half of this primary revenue, some $110 billion, came from contributions from individuals, corporations, foundations, and government grants. 
  • These same organizations reported spending $214 billion. Roughly 87%, or $187 billion, of these expenses were reported as program expenses.  Administration expenses accounted for 9%, or $19 billion, and fundraising expenses accounted for the final 4%, or $9 billion.
  • The charities we evaluated reported total net assets equaling $518 billion.
We found that the majority of charities are financially healthy organizations.
  • Seven out of ten of the charities examined by Charity Navigator spend less than 10% of their budget on fundraising costs, less than 15% on administration costs, and at least 75% on the programs and services they exist to provide. 
  • Over their past three to five fiscal years, 40% of the organizations demonstrate at least 5% growth in their primary revenue and program expenses.
  • Slightly more than half (52%) of the organizations have accumulated at least a year’s worth of working capital to fall back on during economic downturns.
While most charities are indeed fiscally responsible and financially healthy, we learned that not all charities are equal.
  • A quarter of the charities evaluated by Charity Navigator ran an average deficit in their past three to five fiscal years. 
  • 13% devoted less than 70% of their budgets to their programs and services and 4% devote less than 60%. 
  • 5% maintain less than a month’s worth of working capital.
  • 77 charities get an overall 0-star rating.
  • 139 charities have a Donor Advisory.
  • Only 53% of the charities have donor privacy policies.

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