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.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Introducing Instant Charity Updates

Whether you're new to Charity Navigator or a long-time, power user of our site, we know what matters most to you is having access to the most up-to-date nonprofit data available. So, starting in July, we'll be alerting registered users anytime we publish new information on the charities they track. 

Here are a few examples of notifications registered users could receive:

  • This charity's rating has gone up to 3 stars. Click here to see the evaluation.
  • This charity received its first rating and it is 4-stars, our highest rating! Click here to see the evaluation.
  • This organization now has a Donor Advisory. Click here to learn more.
What do you need to do to take advantage of this offer?

  1. If you haven't done so already, become a registered user of Charity Navigator's website (there is no fee for this service).
  2. Then add charities (this can be those that we rate or that we don't yet rate) that you want to track to your "My Charities." For more information on how to follow (or unfollow) specific charities, click here.

That's it. Sit back, relax and start receiving our alerts.

P.S. Not to worry, we will only send an alert when a charity followed by a registered user is updated. And, since we publish the bulk of our new data on the first of each month, typically registered users will only receive a notice from us once a month. 

Top 5 FAQs

1. Does Charity Navigator charge charities to be rated?
Nope. Not one cent. 
We have never charged charities to be evaluated, ensuring that you can trust the data we deliver. Furthermore, for those charities that receive our highest rating, we have never charged them a fee to access and use our 4-star logos.

2. Where do you look on a charity’s ratings page to find out how much the charity spends on its programs/ services?
Each of our charity ratings pages displays the amount the charity spends on its programs/ services. Just scroll down the rating page, below the chart that plots the star rating, to the section titled "Financial Performance Metrics." The first metric listed is "Program Expenses" which is the percent of the charity's total spending that went towards its charitable programs and services.

3. How can I add a charity to ‘My Charities?’

Once you log into the siteyou can add unrated organizations and rated charities to "My Charities." Detailed instructions are offered on our site here.

4. How can I find a list of charities that Support the Troops?
In the Hot Topics section of our site, you’ll find lists of charities that pertain to current events, such as those that Support the TroopsYou can also use our Advanced Search Tool to quickly identify charities that match your philanthropic passion.

5. How can I learn more about informed giving and Charity Navigator?
Join more than 220,000 other donors that have sign up to receive our weekly emails. Each of our emails is designed to help you learn how to use our site and how to ensure your hard-earned money goes to charities worthy of your support. Sign up now!
You can review more FAQs here. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Are You Awesome?

We've got job openings for not 1, but 2 awesome candidates. 
Check our our site to learn more about our open positions and why our staff loves working at Charity Navigator.

Monday, June 15, 2015

4-Star Charities

Check out our Pinterest board to see some of the interesting ways 4-star charities are sharing the good news about their 'excellent' ratings. 

Follow Charity Navigator's board 4-star charities on Pinterest.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Charity Phone Scams

Fresh off the heels of the FTC’s charge that four sham cancer charities bilked $187 million from donors, the Office of the Nevada Attorney General has announced that another impostor, fraudulently claiming to represent a charity for veterans, has been soliciting donations by phone, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal. Ostensibly representing Veterans Helping Nevada Veterans, the caller asks for contributions to be sent to a specific location, but they are instead forwarded to the fraudster.

There are many worthy charities working on cancer and veterans’ issues, but these scam artists want to take advantage of the goodwill people have demonstrated in these cause areas. So, how can you separate the good, the bad, and the ugly, and make sure you get the most out of your charitable dollars? Follow these steps to become a more effective giver:

1.  Hang up the phone!  Whether the caller is an imposter, a paid 3rd party solicitor, or a legitimate representative of the charity, you can make sure your donation gets where you want it to go by hanging up, doing some research, and giving directly.
2.  Be proactive. Don't wait for a charity to ask you for support. Instead flip the table and identify which causes you are most passionate about.
3.  Do your homework. Take the time to research the charity's finances, governance practices and results. You'll find much of this analysis, for free, at Charity Navigator.
4.  Make a long-term commitment. Once you've done your research, give generously and over the long haul. A great way to do that is by setting up a monthly donation to your favorite charity. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

America, Home to the Brave and the Charitable

Last week, we published our 11th Metro Market Study. In this annual report, we analyze differences in the financial, accountability and transparency practices of charities located in various metropolitan markets across America.  

Here are some of the findings from the study:
  • Market Size: New York City (932 large charities), D.C. (686) and L.A. (317) are more crowded and competitive philanthropic markets than Indianapolis (49), Colorado Springs (49) and Orlando (51).
  • CEO Compensation: Charity executives in New York City ($195,758) and D.C. ($185,593) earn considerably more than those in Orlando ($109,695) and Portland ($111,368).
  • Program Expenses: Detroit’s charities (85%) devote the largest percentage of their spending to their programs and services while Indianapolis charities spend the least (79%).
  • Annual Growth: Charities in Miami and San Francisco show the greatest growth in spending on programs, while charities in Orlando and Detroit report the least growth.
  • Level of Contributions: Donors to charities in Miami ($5 million), New York City ($4.6 million) and Kansas City ($4.6 million) are especially generous as these charities report the highest median contributions in the study. Charities in Tampa/St. Petersburg ($2.5 million), Orlando ($2.5 million) and Seattle ($2.8 million) report the lowest median contributions.
  • Assets and Working Capital: The largest charities in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and Cleveland are generally richer in assets and working capital than charities in other parts of the country, while charities in Phoenix, Colorado Springs and D.C. are less financially secure.
  • Accountability & Transparency: Charities in Houston, San Diego and Portland earn the highest scores for their commitment to being accountable and transparent while charities in Nashville, Seattle and Pittsburgh score somewhat lower.
  • Financial Health: The largest charities in Nashville, Miami and Houston earn higher scores for their overall financial health than those in Portland, Orlando and St. Louis.
  • Donor Privacy Policy: Portland (66%) has the highest percentage of charities with written donor privacy policies (stating that the charity will not sell, trade or share its donors’ personal information with anyone else, nor send mailings on behalf of other organizations); Nashville (34%) has the lowest percentage of charities with such policies.
  • Types of Charities: Approximately 40% of the largest charities in Kansas City, St. Louis and Tampa/St. Petersburg are classified as Human Services making these philanthropic marketplaces less diverse in terms of the types of charities represented.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Drumroll Please

This year's top charitable marketplace is.... Houston!

That's right, Houston's philanthropic community ranks #1 among the 30 different cities examined in our 2015 Metro Market Study. The exceptional performance of Houston's charities is a result of the hard work of both informed donors and responsible nonprofit leaders. 

In terms of their overall Financial Health and commitment to Accountability & Transparency, the study’s highest and lowest rated charitable communities are: 

Highest Rated

2015 Ranking
2014 Ranking
1) Houston 1) St. Louis
2) San Diego 2) Houston
3) Boston 3) Cleveland
4) Los Angeles 4) Minneapolis/St. Paul
5) Miami 5) Pittsburgh

Lowest Rated

2015 Ranking
2014 Ranking
30) Colorado Springs 30) Phoenix
29) Portland 29) Atlanta
28) Orlando 28) Colorado Springs
27) Tampa/St. Petersburg 27) Portland
26) Philadelphia 26) Tampa/St. Petersburg

But the best news about this year's study is that it confirms that philanthropy is alive and well in all of the 30 cities examined. That's because, not one of the charitable marketplaces ranks below a 3-star, 'good' rating. For this, donors and nonprofit leaders across the country should be commended.

Find out more details about the 30 individual Charitable Metro Markets:

Monday, June 1, 2015

June Charity Ratings Update

Our June 1st ratings release includes hundreds of updated ratings and some newly rated charities that our team of analysts completed

4-star 4 Paws for Ability
4-star Food for Thought
4-star Room to Read
3-star Americares
3-star Clean Ocean Action
2-star Canine Assistants
0-star Veterans Support Foundation

3-star Agape International Missions
3-star Bridges Outreach