Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Collaborative Project Seeks to Unlock Nonprofit Data

You may know what a Form  990 is and you may know that Charity Navigator uses the information contained in these documents to rate charities. But did you know that accessing the treasure trove of data in these documents requires intensive manual review, advanced computer skills, or both? That's right. Since the start of Charity Navigator, a significant portion of our staff's time has been devoted to data entry. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Metric Mondays #15: Donor Privacy Policy

This Metric Monday covers an important Accountability & Transparency metric: Donor Privacy Policy.

Metric Mondays #14: Program Expense Growth

Today's Metric Monday addresses a key financial health indicator: program expense growth.

Friday, May 19, 2017

What is Red Nose Day?

You may have seen Red Noses for sale at Walgreens, or a picture of your favorite celebrity wearing a red nose, or seen an ad about the special TV programming coming up on May 25th on NBC. But do you know what these clown noses have to do with helping to lift kids and families out of poverty? 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

International Museum Day

Exhibit Painting DisplayDid you know that May 18th is International Museum Day? Established in 1977, International Museum Day is a day to raise awareness of the critical role that museums play in the development of society throughout the world. It is a celebration of the diverse educational opportunities that museums contribute to the communities around them.

Starting in 1997, this day has been given a new theme each year, in order to highlight the wide variety of experiences offered by museums. This year's theme is "Museums and contested histories: Saying the unspeakable in museums." The theme serves to highlight the critical role that museums can play in opening discussions surrounding the diversity of human experience. Museums build spaces that can give voices to the voiceless, and this May 18th we are encouraged to seek out cultural exchanges by visiting the many museums that help highlight the variety of human experience. 

We encourage you to take today to visit and support your favorite museums. The official website for International Museum Day features an interactive map of participating museums. You can find a full list of our 3 and 4-Star museums here.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia

May 17th, The International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, is a worldwide celebration of sexual and gender diversities. The date was chosen in honor of the World Health Organization’s decision to declassify homosexuality as a mental health disorder in 1990.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Celebrate World Migratory Bird Day!

Credit: Don Freiday/USFWS
The 2nd weekend of May is recognized by the United Nations as World Migratory Bird Day, an awareness campaign bringing attention to the need for protecting migratory birds and their habitats.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

May is National Military Appreciation Month

Many of us are already making plans for Memorial Day -- barbecues and picnics with family and friends mark the unofficial start of summer. It’s easy for the purpose of this holiday, a day to remember the sacrifices made by so many service men and women to protect our freedoms, to get lost in the excitement of a (hopefully warm and sunny) day off of work.

Memorial Day is the cornerstone of National Military Appreciation Month which is observed annually in May. This month is set aside to recognize the efforts and sacrifices of our current service men and women and veterans, and remember those who gave their lives to protect our liberties.

There are more than 40,000 charities in the United States providing services to military members and their families, veterans, and the families of service members who have died in duty. Charity Navigator has curated a list of highly-rated organizations serving these groups. Consider making a donation to one of these groups this month to show your appreciation for the members of military, past and present.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Make Mom Proud This Mother's Day!

It’s hard to think of a more thoughtful gift than making a charitable donation in her honor! Moreover, it is one that mom can brag about to all her friends. Can't you just hear her gushing about your altruistic spirit? 

Make your donation via Charity Navigator's Giving Basket and we will send your mom an email informing her that you made a gift in her name. You can even wait until the morning of Mother's Day to set up the donation and we'll make sure she's notified before the end of the day.

STOP! Before You Donate Check Charity Navigator!

Don't take our word for it! Check out WFMY-TV Tanya Rivera's story about how to know if a charity is worthy of your trust and support. (Hint she recommends using our service.)


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

New Partnership Focuses on Nonprofit Impact Measurement

Charity Navigator and the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) have teamed up to launch The Dugan Research Award for Philanthropic Impact, a new grant supporting initiatives that advance the field of impact measurement by nonprofit organizations. The award is named in honor of Pat and Marion Dugan, who founded Charity Navigator in 2002, as a center to support philanthropy with unbiased ratings and evaluations of our nation’s largest charities.

First 100 Days of Trump Administration Changed a Pattern in Charitable Donations

In the past 12 months, more than 10 million people have visited Charity Navigator's website to check out our charity ratings. Many of those site visitors go on to make their donations directly on our site by clicking the “Donate To This Charity” button. We took a look at the donations made from January 20, 2017 to April 20, 2017 and compared them to the donations made during that period a year earlier. The data reveals just how much giving to certain organizations, like the ACLU (+8,000%) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (+1,400%) has increased:

That said, giving via Charity Navigator's Giving Basket was not up across all types of charities. Donations to some health and disease organizations were flat or down slightly from a year earlier. 

How about you? Have you changed the types of charities you support since Trump took office? 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Famine & Drought

Famines, like the one in Africa and Yemen, cause far-ranging suffering. Human lives are lost, children lose access to education, and countries must address the effects of the famine for decades following its official 'conclusion.' You can help end this crisis by making a donation today. To assist you in selecting a charity, our staff has curated a list of highly-rated organizations that will use your gift to combat this famine and provide humanitarian relief to those directly impacted. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Celebrating Consistent High Marks

Don't you just love how the staff at the GOOD+ Foundation (formerly Baby Buggy) celebrated their fourth consecutive 4-star rating?!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Earth Day: April 22, 2017

On April 22, 1970, Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin founded Earth Day to celebrate our earth and raise awareness around the vitality of protecting the environment. Internationally, more than 180 countries recognize Earth Day and use it as an opportunity to build environmental awareness among their citizens. Many take this opportunity to volunteer for projects in their communities like removing litter from a local park or river to create a healthier space for people and wildlife. Others choose to adopt environmentally-friendly behaviors like recycling at home or reducing personal water usage.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Charity Navigator Turns 15 Today!

Charity Navigator site in 2002
Fifteen years ago, Charity Navigator was created to help donors find charities to trust and support. Back then, John Dugan, a successful entrepreneur, and his wife Marion were surprised to learn how little expert information was available to them when it came time to share their good fortune with those in need. Within months (on April 15, 2002, to be exact), they launched a website to provide other donors with data-driven, unbiased rating evaluations, along with a wealth of other information and tools. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Dolphin Day!

Friday, April 14th, is Dolphin Day, a worldwide celebration of these magnificent aquatic mammals, and a call to action to protect both them and their habitats.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

193 countries adopted the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015. The piece of this that the public is most aware of are the Sustainable Development Goals. The goals address issues that we all would love to see improved upon and alleviated- like poverty, gender equality, hunger, and climate action. It's moving that so many countries will make these goals a part of their focus for the next 15 years. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

World Health Day 2017

Every year, April 7 marks World Health Day. This day was first established in 1950 to recognize global health issues. The WHO encourages regional, local, and international governments to organize events in which everyone can get involved. Each year, there is a different theme, and this year, the global health issue is revolving around depression.

Learn How to Accurately Deduct Charitable Gifts

With April 18 approaching (the deadline for filing and paying your taxes), you should know how much you can deduct, what types of contributions are deductible and how to best itemize deductions on your income taxes. Check out our tips now for help in answering these important questions.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Sexual Harassment is in the News...

And it’s for more reasons than you’d think. One reason are the recent high-profile allegations of sexual harassment at large companies like Uber and Fox. The other is that these stories are playing out in what is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month, as highlighted previously on our blog. The timing of these coincidental events has the question of what constitutes sexual harassment to the on many people’s minds.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Syria Chemical Attack: How to Help

On Tuesday, a rebel-held area of Syria experienced a chemical bombing. The toxic gas attack left at least 100 injured and 70 dead. One way you can help is by staying informed about what's going on in Syria and using that knowledge to advocate for change. And another way is by donating to one (or more) of the highly-rated charities that are helping people impacted by the Syrian crisis.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April 1st marks the start of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a time aimed at raising awareness about sexual violence and educating the public about how it can be prevented. Sexual assault and violence affect individuals of all populations, but are more prevalent for young people, women and girls, transgender students, and Native Americans, according to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network).

Monday, April 3, 2017

Metric Mondays #13: Form 990 Distributed to Governing Body before Filing with IRS

Welcome back to Metric Mondays! This week, we're looking at an important measure of Accountability & Transparency: distributing the Form 990 to the organization’s governing body in advance of it being filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Friday, March 31, 2017

Over 79,500 New Nonprofits in 2016

In 2014, the IRS implemented a new form for organizations seeking nonprofit status. Called the 1023-EZ, the three-page document was designed to make it easier for new groups to attain nonprofit status. And boy has it worked! According to the 2016 IRS Data Book, 79,545 new organizations were granted 501 (c)(3) status status last year. Although this represents a decline from the high of 94,365 approvals in 2014, the 2016 figures are still more than double the approval rate in 2013 (the prior to the implementation of the 1023-EZ form). In total, the IRS Data Book reveals that there were a total of 1, 237,094 501 (c) (3) organizations in 2016!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Interest in Meals on Wheels Surges After Trump Releases Federal Budget

On March 16, the Trump administration released its proposed fiscal 2018 federal budget. Included in the various cuts proposed by the White House, is the elimination of the $3 billion Community Development Block Grant program and a decrease in support for the Department of Health and Human Services. Both of these programs help subsidize the work of Meals on Wheels


World Water Day was recognized in 1993 by the United Nations and has been observed on the 22nd of March ever since. The day highlights the importance of sustainable management of freshwater and freshwater resources. World Water Day also draws attention to the millions who are impacted by lack of safe access to clean water and are existing with the effects of ingesting contaminated water. Two of the sixteen UN Sustainable Development Goals are concerned with water, which demonstrates just how crucial water is to eradicating extreme poverty. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


It might only be March 21, but did you also know it is the International Day of Forests!?

Back in 2012, The United Nations General Assembly declared this day to be International Day of Forests. Each year, countries from around the world are encouraged to commit to local, national, and international efforts in organizing various activities having to do with trees and forests. These activities include tree planting campaigns and raising awareness about the importance of all types of trees and forests for future generations to come.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Metric Mondays #12: Meeting Minutes

Today's Metric Monday looks at an Accountability & Transparency metric: meeting minutes documentation.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

World Poetry Day

March 21st is World Poetry Day!

Declared by UNESCO in 1999, World Poetry Day serves as a reminder and celebration of the way that artistic expression can bind us all together as a collective humanity. Poetry is a celebration of the languages that bind us, as well an affirmation of shared human experience and empathy.

Monday, March 13, 2017

A Review of Peter Drucker's Views on Nonprofits

Last April, I participated in a symposium, “Social Entrepreneurship: Wave of the Future?,” hosted by the Anisfield School of Business at Ramapo College of New Jersey. During the event, we debated the merits of Peter Drucker's 1991 Wall Street Journal Essay, “It Profits Us to Strengthen Nonprofits.” The event went so well, that the professor behind it,  Dr. Sabrin, decided to publish an ebook of essays about Drucker's ideas. Here's a synopsis from my essay:

Monday, March 6, 2017

International Women’s Day!

March 8th is International Women’s Day! The first official International Women’s Day took place in 1911 and prioritized the rights of women to work, vote, and hold public office. Over one million women and men attended rallies across Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland on that day in 1911. In 1975, the United Nations officially set March 8th as the date for International Women’s Day.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

DYK these 10 facts about the charities we rate?

With our analysis of over 8,000 charities, 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.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Pay Yourself First

As a child, I remember my father often saying to me in his deep, authoritarian voice, “hey kid, always pay yourself first.” What he meant by that was to be sure to put money away for a rainy day. So, starting when I was pretty little, I squirreled away a little bit of the money I’d get for my birthday from a relative. As I got older, I continued the practice and saved some of my babysitting money and then part of my lifeguard salary. It wasn’t always easy to save when my friends wanted to go to the mall or go see a movie, but for the most part, I followed my dad’s advice. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Black History Month

Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is observed each year in February. The event is a time to pay tribute to the history, struggles, and triumphs of black people across the world. In honor of Black History Month, we hope you will consider supporting one of the highly-rated organizations that are working to promote black health, education, rights and community development in the United States.

Friday, February 17, 2017

World Whale Day!

credit: Isaac Kohane
Saturday, February 18th, is World Whale Day, a celebration of the largest animals on Earth.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Good News for Donors!

We've got some good news to share that should help you feel good about donating. Our research into the financial health, accountability and transparency of thousands of America's largest charities shows that the majority are performing at a high level. That is to say that most of the charities that we rate have a 3-star (good) or 4-star (excellent) rating.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Metric Mondays #11: Records Retention Policy

This week's Metric Monday focus is again on Accountability & Transparency, as we look at a key policy that helps ensure organizational accountability.

Friday, February 3, 2017

First Open Source Release of Code that Reads Digitized IRS Form 990 Data

Charity Navigator is dedicated to the advancement of informed giving. In the United States, most organizations exempt from income tax under section 501(a) must file an annual information return called the Form 990. These documents contain a wealth of information about each organization’s operations, finances and governance practices. Philanthropists, regulators, researchers and others rely on the IRS Form 990 as a crucial public record of nonprofit governance.

Love a Charity this Valentine's Day

Americans spent $19.7 billion dollars last 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!

We’ll get you started with a few ideas.  Here are 5 ways to love a charity this Valentine’s Day:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Plant a tree! Plenty of environmental charities will plant tree or conserve land in honor of your special someone. Organizations like Trees Atlanta will plant a trees in honor of your special someone.

5. 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.

Now that the ideas are flowing, it’s time to come up with your own.  After all, the best Valentine’s gifts are the ones that come from your heart.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Show Your Favorite Charity Rating Service Some Love

Shopping for your loved one this Valentine's Day? Before you start, we invite you to take a minute to sign up for AmazonSmile. Once you do, 0.5% of your purchases will be donated to Charity Navigator as your charity of choice. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Metric Mondays #10: Fundraising Efficiency

Last week, we focused on the importance of a Conflict of Interest policy. Today’s Metric Monday will address Fundraising Efficiency!

Fundraising Efficiency is the amount spent by a charity for each dollar they bring in as contributions. We determine this by dividing fundraising expenses by the amount of total contributions. We get this data from an organization’s 3 most recent Form 990s, and average the totals for fundraising expenses and total contributions across those 3 years, and then divide the two averages to get a raw value for Fundraising Efficiency. For this metric, a lower raw value will result in a higher score for the metric itself, for example, spending $0.05 is preferable to spending $0.25 to fundraise $1.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Test Your Nonprofit Knowledge

  • Do you know what was the first year that charities were required by law to provide copies of their 3 most recently filed Forms 990 to anyone making a request in person or in writing?

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

Many of our schools and workplaces will be closed on Monday, January 16 to observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. We all enjoy a day off but this year, more than ever before, let’s treat this like a day on. Let’s celebrate the memory and work of Dr. King by getting out and getting involved in projects around our communities.

If you plan to spend the day volunteering with an organization in your community, please take a moment to read our Guide to Volunteering to help you find an effective charity that will enable you to have fun while giving back and supporting a cause you care about.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2017 Predictions

Increased Awareness and Activism- With a heightened sense of political and economic instability, many Americans are turning to charities to ensure their values are represented in their communities and across the country.  Since the election, we predict that more people will be engaging with the nonprofit sector in 2017 through volunteering and donating. Don’t forget to use Charity Navigator to help you determine which organizations you’ll be investing your time and resources into!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Nonprofit Approval Rate Soars

At Charity Navigator, we look at the state of the sector overall to help inform our own analysis of individual charities. We recently took a look at the data provided by the IRS regarding the total number of 501(c)(3) applications between 1996 and 2014. The result of this process is the graph you see before you, which shows the number of approved, disapproved, and backlogged applications annually. If you look to the approved chart, you may notice a distinct spike in 2014 of the number of approved applications. While there may well be a variety of reasons for this explosion in nonprofit applications being approved, it is worth noting that it coincides with the release of an EZ application form by the IRS. While the leap is certainly stark, it is harder to tell if this should be seen as positive or negative for the sector. We have asked two of our analysts, Gillian and Zachary, to briefly discuss the potential positives and negatives, respectively.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Charity Navigator Users Are Generous!

This past December, the Charity Navigator community came together and donated nearly nine million dollars to more than 7,900 charities via our Giving Basket!    

What is it that donors love so much about our donation tool? Is it that they can donate to multiple charities at once? Is it because it is so easy to set up recurring donations? Do they like it because they get one tax receipt right after they complete the transaction? Or is it because they can give anonymously? Maybe it is all of the above!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Shopping? Start with a Smile and Amazon will donate to Charity Navigator!

Did you know that with two quick clicks, you can continue to support Charity Navigator every time you shop on Amazon? Once you sign up, 0.5% of your purchase price will be donated to us as your charity of choice. 

Thank you!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Top 5 Tips for Your 2017 Philanthropic Endeavors

Charity Navigator's Top 5 tips for charting the best course for your 2017 philanthropic endeavors.
1.First, determine what causes are most important to you.
2.Next, develop a list of charities engaged in that type of work.
3.Then, using Charity Navigator’s free website, narrow that list to just a few that are financially healthy, accountable and transparent.
4.Check on the charity's results by calling or visiting its website. Use our questions to ask charities as a guideline.
5.Finally, map out a plan and budget for the year. 

  • Think about giving anonymously so that you don't end up inundated with additional appeals. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year Thank You

  • “We @KidsAliveInt have acquired many new donors recently who said they found us on @CharityNav that's encouraging!!”~Tweet
  • "The Foundation is confident that Charity Navigator's recognition of our adherence to the highest standards of fundraising will help to increase contributions to our cause."- Evelyn H. Lauder, Founder and Past Chairman, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation
  • "I depend on your diligence for accountability on keeping an honest evaluation of the different organizations. I truly believe in sharing treasure and I want it to go as far as possible for programs that truly aid those in distress throughout the world. It is now my first act to check with Charity Navigator when receiving an appeal. Your work helps me live a better life and allows me to share without a nagging second thought about whether my donation goes to those in need." - Charity Navigator Donor
  • "A new donor who called in December who was interested in becoming a monthly donor said that he chose Children’s Aid because of our ranking on Charity Navigator. Another loved our services but needed the Charity Navigator’s reassurance. We hear this a lot." - Patricia M. Grayson, Assistant Executive Director of Development, Children's Aid Society
  • "Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine’s has recognized Charity Navigator as one of the"The Best of " in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2016- Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine's"

As we ring in the New Year, we wish to thank you for using our free service to guide your charitable giving. As the quotes above demonstrate, by using our objective ratings, you are changing the philanthropic marketplace. The days are gone when charities can simply rely on a benevolent sounding name and some tragic photographs. You've told the charities, through your continued patronage of our site, that you want more. You want comparative data you can trust. We promise to keep providing you with that information in 2017 and beyond.

Happy New Year,
The Charity Navigator Staff