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, December 31, 2015

URGENT – 11:59 deadline tonight!

If you want to deduct your charitable contributions on your 2015 tax return, then you have until midnight tonight to make your donations.

What you haven't donated yet? Never fear, online giving at Charity Navigator offers the luxury of waiting until the last minute and the convenience of maintaining your giving records in one place, making your life easier at tax time.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Key Stories in Philanthropy in 2015

Every year contains many important stories and moments in the philanthropic sector, and 2015 was no exception. Here are just a few of the stories that caught our attention this year:
  • Charities Respond to World Crises: The social sector responded to tragedy with compassion, acting to help around the globe on a number of issues, including the Syrian refugee crisis, the Yemen humanitarian crisis, and the Nepal earthquake.
  • Charity Cancer Scam: In an unprecedented collaboration, the FTC and 58 law enforcement agencies put a web of sham cancer charities out of business
  • CN Giving Basket: Charity Navigator launched the Giving Basket, a new tool to streamline giving by seamlessly integrating the process into our website.
Let us know if anything in philanthropy stood out for you this year!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Gifts To Charity Can Still Pay Off On Your 2015 Taxes If You Hurry

Your gifts to charity are an expression of your generosity and commitment to solving the problems that threaten our society. Even if your intentions are 100% altruistic, Uncle Sam still rewards your charitable endeavors by making these gifts tax-deductible. But remember you must make your donation by December 31 to claim the tax deduction on your 2015 taxes. 

You can do that, up to the last minute of the year, on Charity Navigator's site using the new Giving Basket

For more information, be sure to check out our Holiday Giving Guide (which is full of tips for making informed year-end gifts) and our article on the tax benefits of giving.  

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Charity Navigator's Year in Review

It's been another excellent year here at Charity Navigator! These are a few of the highlights of 2015 from America's Largest Charity Evaluator:

  • In August, we were delighted to announce the appointment of new president and chief executive officer Michael Thatcher. Mr. Thatcher joins Charity Navigator with a successful track record as a technology executive, a reputation for achieving desired results, and a passion for using technology as a tool to advance social good.
  • Including Michael, we increased our overall staff size by 36%.
  • We added more functionality to the My Charities feature of the site by including personalized alerts for ratings changes of the charities you follow.
  • In October, we launched the all-new Giving Basket, a safe, easy and convenient way to support any charity, all from Charity Navigator's website.
  • In 2015, we updated ratings for over 8,000 charities, and we collected Results Reporting data for 3,000 charities.
  • We had nearly 20% more visits to our site this year, for a record number of 8.8 million!
Please help us celebrate a successful 2015 and an even stronger 2016 by Donating Today to help us continue to guide intelligent giving!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Your giving goals, our research team

Vetting charities is our full-time job.  We do this because we know most donors are simply too busy with their work, family and other responsibilities to take on the daunting task of digging through and analyzing nonprofit data. So, our staff works hard, year-round to ensure you have access to the most current data available on thousands of charities

If our research has been useful for you, please give now to keep our services available to all donors. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Our Gift To You

We know that many donors are making important decisions about which charities to support right now. In fact, many charities report that they get as much as 1/2 of their annual gifts from individuals between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve. All this giving makes it critical that donors have access to the most current data available. We have been working diligently these last few weeks to ensure we help generous donors, like you, make informed giving decisions. The result of all that effort is our holiday gift to you - the release of over 1,000 updated ratings today

We wish you nothing but the best in all of your charitable endeavors this holiday season.

Happy Holidays from Charity Navigator!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Choosing a Charity: Syrian Refugee Crisis

An aerial view of the Za'atri Refugee Camp in Jordan.
Photo credit: U.S. Department of State

The Syrian conflict, now entering its fifth year, represents the largest displacement crisis in the world, with millions of people forced out of their homes. Many charities have responded, however, the crisis is complex, with several different populations requiring various forms of assistance. Syrian refugees fall broadly into three categories requiring aid: people within Syria or in the nearby countries, refugees in Europe, and refugees who have begun the resettlement process. When choosing an organization to support, it is important to understand which population they assist, as well as the form of aid provided. You can find a list of tips for donating in times of crisis on our website, but we have also here compiled a guide to the 4-star organizations responding to the Syrian crisis.

If you are looking to help people remaining in Syria or who have fled to neighboring countries, the following 4-star organizations have ongoing programs to help those populations: the American Refugee Committee, GlobalGiving, International Medical Corps, the International Rescue Committee, Medical Teams International, Mercy-USA for Aid and Development, Save the Children, and United States Fund for UNICEF. Many of these organizations focus on providing people with shelter, medical care, and basic needs, including access to hygiene and clean water.

To assist the refugees in Europe with the provision of basic needs, look to GlobalGiving, International Medical Corps, Medical Teams International, Samaritan’s Purse, Save the Children, and United States Fund for UNICEF. Many of these programs help not just Syrian refugees, but those coming from North Africa and other Middle Eastern countries as well. They focus on providing medical care and basic needs, including ensuring refugees are properly outfitted for the winter months. Several of these organizations also undertake advocacy work with local governments, whether helping to support local institutions or asking for governments to do more to help the refugees arriving at their borders.

Some refugees have already been resettled by the United Nations, and these people face their own unique challenges adapting to their new homes. GlobalGiving highlights a few organizations working with these refugees to adjust to life in a new place, providing them with the tools and resources necessary to make the transition. The International Rescue Committee undertakes similar work, helping refugees navigate the registration and resettlement process, including understanding their rights, and helping them establish lives in their new countries. They have assisted in settling some Syrian refugees here in the United States, and allow donors to contribute to one of the local offices helping refugees. No matter which organization you choose to support, we encourage you to visit their website and understand their programs and efforts, as well as following up on your donation has helped.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Best Gift Ever!

Stop stressing over what to get everyone on that long list and spread some joy by donating to a highly-rated charity in honor of someone you love. 

Go to our site now and pick out a charity to support that will make you and the person you are giving in honor of, feel good this holiday season. Then when you donate via our Giving Basket just type in the name of the person you want to recognize and include their email so they'll be immediately notified of the donation you made in their name. 

What could be a more meaningful holiday gift than that?

Friday, December 11, 2015

Help Us Finish 2015 Strong!

This month, we are asking you to support Charity Navigator.

In 2015, we helped millions of donors, like you, give smarter 

by providing more trusted charity ratings and new tools. Like the charities that you vet on our site, Charity Navigator relies on your support to do our work.

If all of our users gave just $3 today, 
we'd be able to end our December appeal tomorrow.

Take a look at our Year in Review below
and Donate Today to help us make 2016 even better. Thank you!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Four Star Holiday Tribute Programs

Mission: The Houston Zoo provides a fun, unique, and inspirational experience fostering appreciation, knowledge, and care for the natural world.

The GiftThe Houston Zoo let’s donor give the gift of animal adoption. Depending on your donation level, your recipient can receive zoo tickets, an animal plush, an adoption certificate, and more.

Mission: The Air Force Enlisted Village (AFEV) is a nonprofit organization whose core mission is to provide a safe, secure home for surviving spouses of retired enlisted U.S. Airmen.

The Gift: Through the Brick Paver Form, you can purchase a brick to add to the Garden of Hope. Depending on the size brick you choose, you can enter three to five lines of text. Air Force Enlisted Village will send an acknowledgment letter to your honoree.

Mission: Kiva's mission is to connect people though lending to alleviate poverty.

 The GiftKiva gives donor the option of purchasing gift cards. This allows the recipient allocate the gift to an individual of their choice. When the individual repays the loan, your gift recipient can reuse these funds as many times as they’d like.

Mission: ACF International works to save the lives of malnourished children while providing communities with access to safe water and sustainable solutions to hunger.

The GiftAction Against Hunger sends an e-card to the individual your donation is dedicated to.

Mission: The IRC’s mission is to respond to the world’s worst crises and help people to survive and rebuild their lives.

The Gift: International Rescue Committee will send a card via email or mail to the individual you dedicate your donation to.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Holiday Giving Guide: Your Ticket to Supporting Great Charities

At Charity Navigator, we urge all donors to take a closer look at the charities seeking their support this holiday season. To aid your efforts, we've created this Holiday Giving Guide to help you ensure that your holiday donations best reach their intended good causes.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Remembering our Troops during the Holiday Season

As of November 15th, there are approximately 1.1 million American troops deployed worldwide, with nearly 175,000 troops stationed in non US territories. The holiday season makes being away from home particularly difficult, whether you’re on the other side of the United States or across the globe. Numerous charities work to let our soldiers know that America is conscious of and grateful for their sacrifices.

Operation Support Our Troops - America sends care packages throughout the year to troops. During the holidays donors can choose to send either a standard package or stockings to soldiers. The stocking option includes ornaments, a Christmas card, and holiday candy.

Operation Gratitude has sent over 1.3 million care packages to American troops since its inception. Through Operation Gratitude, donors can send personal letters to troops, veterans, new recruits, and wounded warriors. Donors can also send clothing, hygiene items, food, and games, among other items.

During the holiday season and beyond, these 4 star charities help translate your thoughts of gratitude into heartfelt gifts to our troops.

Interested in supporting troops in other ways? Use our advanced search tool to get started.