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, February 26, 2016

Got Questions About Donating? We've Got The Answers!

Last month, Charity Navigator's new President & CEO, Michael Thatcher spent an hour answering questions submitted by our site users. The discussion covered trends in philanthropy, tips for making informed giving decisions, an overview or our evolving rating system and much more.

A recording of the webinar, along with a few of the more popular questions and answers, can be found on our site here

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

10 Things You May Not Know About Our Data


With our analysis of over 8,000 charity ratings, we have a ton of data and statistics available for donors! Here are ten of the stand out stats that you may not have known: 

1) The charities we rate received more than $123 billion in donations in their most recent fiscal year.

2) Currently, 29% of the charities we rate have a 4-star rating and <1% have a 0-star rating.

3) The charities we rate spend on average 80% of their budgets on their programs and services. Only 3% of these charities spend less than 60% on their programs.

4) The highest compensation received by a CEO of these charities was $4.22 million; however, the median CEO compensation was a much lower figure of $124,791.

5) Nearly 300 charities are on our Donor Advisory list

6) More than half of the charities we rate have accumulated at least a year's worth of working capital (rainy day funds). Only 4% of the charities have less than 1 month's worth of working capital.

7) We focus on rating charities that have 501 (c) (3) public charity status and are thus based in the U.S. But that doesn't mean these charities limit the scope of their work to our country. Nearly 1,200 of them work internationally.

8) The median charity we rate generates $4.0 million in total revenue and reports $3.7 million in total functional expenses.

9) The charities we evaluate report total net assets equaling $637 billion. 

10) Three charities have earned 15 consecutive 4-star ratings.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Hobbs Foundation and Charity Navigator Partner to Help More Donors Make Informed Giving Choices

Individual donors and grantmaking organizations can find trusted analytical information on many of the South's best-known charities serving the needs of children, thanks to the Hobbs Foundation’s decision to continue to fund Charity Navigator’s expanded coverage of these types of charities. The 12 year partnership has also benefited the more than 200 charities that have been evaluated by shining the lights on the most efficient, accountable & transparent organizations and providing them with objective information which they can share with supporters.
Interested in partnering with us to provide additional charity evaluations for your community or in a specific charitable cause? Then drop us an email to learn more about our partnership opportunities.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Nearly 25,000 Stars!

We’ve got great news for donors! 

Altogether, the charities that we currently rate have earned a total of 24,274 stars. And the majority of them have 3 and 4-star ratings, meaning that they are good stewards of donors' contributions.

Here’s the current distribution of star ratings among the 8,000+ charities we rate:
30% have 4-stars
46% have 3-stars
19% have 2-stars
4% have 1-star
1% have 0-stars

Check out our Pinterest board to see how some of the 4-star charities celebrate their rating.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

EYES ON YOUR MISSION: Video Grant Opportunity For 3 Non-profits

Are you an innovative non-profit that wants more eyes on your mission in this age of digital media? Would you love to have a compelling video that tells your charity's story and thus helps you attract more donors, volunteers and stakeholders?

Two Parrot Productions, a Miami-based video company that creates inspiring human-centric video content for non-profit organizations, and its partners, are offering an innovative grant to non-profit organizations for FREE video production services. Through the “Eyes On Your Mission grant opportunity, three lucky non-profits will receive video production services valued between $15,000.00 - $75,00000 each (depending on the locations).

For more information on the “Eyes on Your Mission” grant opportunity, application and grant submission schedule, interested 501c3 organizations should go to: http://twoparrot.com/free

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: April 25, 2016



Friday, February 12, 2016

5 Ways to Spread Love this Valentine's Day


Americans are expected to spend $17.55 billion dollars this Valentine’s Day. Buying chocolates, exchanging gifts, and giving flowers are all hallmarks of this holiday. How about trying something new this year? We’re challenging you to make philanthropy a part of your Valentine’s Day traditions!

Here’s 5 ways to spread love and charity this Valentine’s Day:
  1. Donate to your loved one's favorite cause! If they’re passionate about anything, from Animals to Education, we’ve got you covered. Use our Giving Basket to make a donation in the name of your loved one.
  2. Volunteer with a local charity! A lot of food banks and shelters will be hosting Valentine’s Day dinners for those in need, giving you the opportunity to spread the love through your service. Use our Advanced Search tool to find charities in your area looking for volunteers.
  3. Send a Valentine’s Day themed care package to our soldiers abroad! There are numerous organizations that are dedicated to supporting both our veterans and our active duty service members. Organizations like Operation Support Our Troops and Operation Gratitude send care packages to our troops all year long.
  4. Plant a tree! Plenty of environmental charities will plant tree or conserve land in honor of your special someone. Organizations like Arbor Day Foundation and Trees Atlanta will plant a trees in honor of your special someone.
  5. Donate to V-Day! Yes, there’s an organization that is actually named V-Day. This 4 star charity works to end violence against women and girls. Check them out here.

Peyton Manning: Super Bowl and Philanthropic Champ


On Sunday, February 7, 2015, Peyton Manning lead the Denver Broncos to an impressive Super Bowl 50 Championship. With his outstanding sportsmanship and professionalism, the five time MVP relished in his second Super Bowl win with pure graciousness. Although no one is certain if this would have been Manning's last game with rumors circulating of retirement, perhaps he will dedicate more of his time to the charitable sector. He has already publicly established great success on the football field, but what many might not know is how giving he really is.

Manning’s personal assistant, Ryan Robinson, recently  praised Manning, explaining how that is the type of person he is and is always trying to help others. Robinson shared a touching story about his friendship with a young boy, Tyler, who had spent several years in and out of Indianapolis hospitals fighting leukemia. After the young boys passing, Manning was inspired by the child’s desire to build a tree house for other children with leukemia so that they could “feel normal.” Manning decided to help raise the necessary money to build the tree house to honor Tyler. A mere ten days after Tyler’s passing, Manning, along with others, staged an auction which raised enough money to build the tree house that stands in a local camp near Bloomington, IN.

Fast forward a few years later and many might not have been aware of Manning’s devotion to comforting the families of the Scenic City terrorist attacks. He led U.S. senator Bob Corker to the start of the Chattanooga Heroes Fund to aid the families of the victims. While Manning and his wife Ashley were not in town during the attacks, as soon as they landed back in town, they drove to the memorial site to comfort the servicemen, law enforcement and First Responders involved.

We commend Peyton’s philanthropic spirit and congratulate him on his Super Bowl win! Visit our site to learn about other celebrities charitable endeavors.  

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Trump Foundation Raises $6 million for Veterans

In lieu of attending the latest GOP debate, Donald Trump held his own event, which was aimed at raising money for veterans through the Donald J. Trump Foundation. The event rose over $6 million, which will be distributed to 22 different veterans groups. Some are questioning the legality of the fundraiser, but that’s not the focus of this blog. Rather, we want to take a closer look at the charities receiving the funds in case you wish to know if these are charities worthy of your trust and support.

Of the 22 veterans groups receiving some part of the donations raised, 6 are currently rated by us. Fisher House Foundation, which provides housing to military families near where their loved one is receiving treatment, has received 12 consecutive 4 star ratings! Disabled American Veterans Charitable Trust, which supports physical and psychological rehabilitation programs that provide direct service to veterans, is a 4 star organization. Homes for Our Troops, a 4 star organization, builds specially adapted homes for severely injured veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. Hope for the Warriors, which has received five consecutive 4 star ratings, provides support programs for veterans and their families. Operation Homefront, another 4 star organization, provides emergency financial assistance to the families of our veterans. The Navy SEAL Foundation, which has received five consecutive four star ratings, provides support, health and welfare programs to Navy SEAL veterans.


Looking to Support Veterans and Active Duty Service members? Click here

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Children of the Syrian Crisis



As the Syrian crisis continues, UNICEF has provided a new devastating statistic. In the constant fight to escape Syria, the Middle East and parts of Africa, more than one third of these migrants are now children. Many people do not understand the magnitude of how dangerous the attempt to cross the sea from Turkey to Greece really is. Of the enormous amounts of drownings, one in five people are a child. With treacherous conditions in the water, severe weather and un-sturdy rubber boats, it is no shock that these journeys have been nothing short of horrifying.

In 2015, it is said that more than one million migrants have entered Europe. UNICEF has called on the international community to make every effort to protect women and children migrants who make it to land. Sadly, the majority of children who do make it to land are unaccompanied by an adult. Once off the boat, the journey doesn’t end there. Many migrants will now be looking at a 40 mile walk, on average, to register with the country. In the first few weeks of this new year alone, it is estimated that 55,000 refugees have crossed the Mediterranean. Of the 55,000, 366 have been reported dead or missing.

In the wake of this international tragedy, many people are looking to help those in need. Some have gone as far as to greet those making it to land with food, fresh water and something as simple as a smile. If you or someone you know is looking to help with the Syrian crisis, Charity Navigator has provided a list of several 4 and 3 star charities aiding in relief efforts.

Annual Report on Charitable Solicitations in Colorado for the Year 2015


Secretary of State Wayne Williams of Colorado recently released a report on Charitable Solicitations in his state. The 28 page report provides an overview of what his role is in the regulation of charities and their fundraising behavior. It also outlines best practices and tips for both charities and donors. 

The data in this report speaks to the progress made due to Colorado’s effort to better their philanthropic sector. Approximately $79.7 billion dollars were donated to Colorado’s charities in 2015. Overall, these charities are growing at a rate of about 7% over the past three years and they allocate, on average, 84% of their spending to programs. Of the 12,794 charities registered in Colorado, only 2% use paid solicitors. This number being so low is excellent because we often see inefficiencies in the way these outside firms fundraise. 81% of net proceeds made through paid solicitors went to the charity, however, when you remove two high-dollar campaigns, the overall percent to the charity drops to only 37.9%!

Charity Navigator was recommended as one of the premier sources of Industry Standards for Accountability and Transparency. Referring to us, the report reads, “The site is a valuable source of data on charities and includes detailed discussions about how to rate charities and measure their impact.”

Currently, over 70 of Coloradan charities we rate have earned a 4 star rating. From the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, to the First Nations Development Institute, to Water for People, many of Colorado’s charities are financially healthy and transparent with their constituents!
Want to see all of Colorado’s four star organizations? Click here!