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, October 31, 2014

Scary Truths About Giving That Every Donor Should Know

  • Some charities are so inefficient that they fail to even apply one third of their budget toward their mission (when we find such groups, they automatically are assigned a 0-star rating).
  • When donors give small donations to many charities they end up on many mailing lists.  That is because it may be more advantageous for a charity to sell your name to other organizations then cultivate more donations form you over time. 
  • Some charities are not even transparent enough to display the names of their key staff and Board of Directors on their website.
  • Those annoying telemarketers calling you at dinnertime often keep the majority of what you donate (sometimes 85 to 95 cents of every dollar they raise). That’s millions of dollars each year that go towards enriching for-profit telemarketers rather than supporting charitable programs. Even scarier, there are cases in which no money is distributed to the charity. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

School Fundraisers: Are They An Efficient Way To Support Our Schools?

The short answer, as WSOC TV investigates in the following video, is "No!" That's because often these fundraisers are run by outside, for-profit firms that keep a large percentage of what they raise. Even more troubling, is that many parents are reporting that it is nearly impossible to find out just what that percentage is. 

So, parents out there, what do you do when these appeals come home, often promising the kids big prizes if they sell, sell, sell? 

I can tell you that in my house, my kids have learned not to even bring those packages home. They know that I don't support the messaging that comes with the prize packs- that fundraising isn't about giving, but rather about what you can get out of it. And they've learned that we're not going to pester our neighbors and loved ones into buying chocolate that their waistlines don't need or into buying wrapping paper that's ten time the cost of that found at the dollar store. Instead, we cut out the middleman and make a direct contribution to the PTA / sports team and get on with our day.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Got a Question for us?

We get a lot of questions about donating. For example, one we often hear, "the CEO's salary of my favorite charity seems high, should I make a contribution?" 

Check out our FAQs for the answer to this question and others.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Year-End Giving Season Is Approaching - Find Out How To Make Informed Giving Choices

TV station WFMY recently ran a story  providing a nice overview of how Charity Navigator can help you make informed year-end (and really all year long) donations. Good timing on their part as we know that charities receive as much as 1/2 of their annual gifts between Thanksgiving and New Years. 

However, I'd like to clarify one thing in their segment. That is, if we don't yet rate a nonprofit that's of interest to you, then you can still find basic information about it (see the unrated organization tab in the search results) on our site. We also include a set of tips to help you conduct your own review.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Video Grants Available for Innovative Charities

Charity Navigator is collaborating with Two Parrot Productions (a video production company that specializes in creating compelling mini-documentaries for non-profit organizations) to help them select THREE charities to receive 100% pro-bono video production grants for 2015.  

Watch this short video to learn more. And if you think your charity exhibits innovation, creativity, and future-thinking, then visit Two Parrot Productions' website to apply for a video grant 


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Moving Toward An Overhead SOLUTION

Today, with Guidestar and the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator published a letter inviting the nonprofits of America to do their part to focus donors’ attention on what really matters: a charity's efforts to make the world a better place (which we are beginning to track via our Results Reporting methodology).

Read the full letter that asks nonprofits and the social sector at large to join us as we move toward an Overhead Solution.

Video: Evaluating Charity CEO Compensation

For those of you who are looking for some assistance in evaluating CEO compensation, we've recently published our 2014 CEO Compensation Study. It shows the median compensation and raise for the leaders of mid to large sized charities and includes details on how pay varies by location, charitable mission and organizational size. The end of the report, like this video, offers tips for evaluating your favorite charity’s compensation practices.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Help Us Scale Up

Although Charity Navigator is a small charity, we have technology-related expenses similar to that of a large, commercial website. While we may not need the thousands of programmers that Google and Facebook employ, we do need more than the two programmers we currently have on staff. 

So, if Charity Navigator is useful to you, then we kindly ask you to make a tax-deductible donation so that we can invest in the necessary technology resources to continue to improve our service to you. 

Donate Now

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Charities Working to Prevent and Cure Breast Cancer

There are 1,000s of charities competing for donations to continue their efforts to promote awareness and to cure breast cancer. How is a donor supposed to distinguish between them all?

Check out our list of breast cancer related charities - from those rated 4-stars to those on our Donor Advisory list.

Monday, October 13, 2014

2014 Charity CEO Compensation Study

Just how much does the typical mid to large-sized charity's CEO earn? Did he/she see an increase in pay from 2011 to 2012? How does CEO pay vary by location, mission and budget?

Our latest CEO Compensation Study answers these questions and offers some tips for evaluating your favorite charity's compensation practices. 

Read the Study Now

Friday, October 10, 2014

Fun Photos of 4-Star Charities

I always get a kick out of the creative photos posted by some of our 4-star charities as they celebrate their achievement.

See more 4-star celebratory photos here.