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, January 23, 2017

Charity Navigator Metric Mondays #10: Fundraising Efficiency

Charity Navigator Metric Mondays #10: Fundraising Efficiency
Last week, Charity Navigator focused on the importance of a Conflict of Interest policy. Today’s Charity Navigator 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

Charity Navigator Tests Your Nonprofit Knowledge

Charity Navigator Tests Your Nonprofit Knowledge

As one of the leading charity evaluators in the United States, Charity Navigator has a LOT of data about how donations and giving work, so we're asking you some questions to see if you are nonprofit savvy!
  • 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

Charity Navigator: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

Charity Navigator: 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. Charity Navigator is celebrating 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

Charity Navigator's 2017 Predictions for Charitable Giving and Charities

Charity Navigator's 2017 Predictions for Charitable Giving and Charities
It's a new year, which means there are new trends that are emerging within the philanthropic sector. Charity Navigator is breaking down the potential new patterns that might arise during 2017.

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

Charity Navigator Notices Nonprofit Sector Approval Rating 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!

We're always impressed with the Charity Navigator community, but this past December, our philanthropists 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's 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 from Charity Navigator

Top 5 Tips for Your 2017 Philanthropic Endeavors from Charity Navigator

We, at Charity Navigator, understand that there's a whole world to save, which is why we've outlined our Top 5 tips for charting the best course for your 2017 philanthropic endeavors.

1. First, determine what causes are most important to you. By figuring out a list of causes that you care about, you'll be able to differentiate the different needs that each cause and charity-set have and directly contribute to their specific needs.

2. Next, develop a list of charities engaged in that type of work. You'll be able to find specific charities through Charity Navigator's website, but you'll also be able to figure out which are highly-rated, which leads us to #3. 
3. Use Charity Navigator’s free website to narrow that list to just a few that are financially healthy, accountable and transparent. Charity Navigator rates charities from across the country, so chances are, we have yours listed!

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 from Charity Navigator and Thank You!

As we ring in the New Year, Charity Navigator wishes 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.
  • “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"

Happy New Year,
The Charity Navigator Staff