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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.

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Monday, September 26, 2022

Leadership & Adaptability: Key to Nonprofit Performance

Charity Navigator will unify its two rating systems this Fall. This holistic system will account for all aspects of a nonprofit’s operations within the four-beacon Encompass framework. One of those beacons is Leadership & Adaptability, which assesses how nonprofits invest in leadership and promote shared accountability and adaptability for achieving impact across all levels of their organization. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Culture & Community Beacon: Evaluating Nonprofit Interconnectedness

The Culture & Community beacon of the Encompass Rating System comprises two vital assessments: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and Constituent Feedback. These assessments evaluate the interconnectedness of an organization’s culture and commitment to fostering strong connections within its community. We believe equitable programming and thorough feedback practices demonstrate a nonprofit’s likelihood to deliver on its mission consistently. 

Monday, September 19, 2022

Meet the Team: My Nonprofit Journey - Julia Bieniek

Welcome to our Meet The Team series, where each month, we introduce a member of the Charity Navigator team to our readers. We are extremely honored to be a part of the nonprofit community where our footprint (and our ratings!) have expanded, and we are incredibly appreciative of the support received from our donors and users, nonprofits, and funders. We hope this series will be enlightening and entertaining. Click here for other profiles.


Growing up with a Montessori education alongside family values of tikkun olam encouraged me to participate in the nonprofit sector at a young age. My childhood and young adulthood are filled with countless memories of volunteering at various nonprofits, including food banks and homeless shelters. This pastime eventually led me to a career at our nation’s largest nonprofit evaluator, Charity Navigator. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Impact & Results Beacon: What nonprofits need to know

The centerpiece of our four-beacon Encompass system is our Impact and Results Beacon. This beacon scores nonprofits’ expected impact on beneficiaries compared to the costs of producing that impact. In other words, we provide information about what a nonprofit achieves for each donated dollar it spends. An organization’s Impact & Results score comprises 50% of the total Encompass score where it is present. We weigh this beacon more heavily than the other three because, in a world of scarce resources, we think it's essential to highlight impactful giving opportunities where donations do exceptional good.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Accountability and Finance Metrics and the Rating Unification: What Nonprofits Need to Know

As we announced this summer, Charity Navigator will be unifying its two rating systems (CN 2.1, also known as the Star Rating System, and the Encompass Rating System) this fall. Rather than offering two distinct rating systems, one holistic system will account for all aspects of a nonprofit’s operations that fall within the four-beacon Encompass framework. All eligible nonprofits will receive a 0-4 Star rating based on the aggregation of their earned beacons, not just on the finance, accountability, and transparency metrics that underpinned our legacy system. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Giving During Economic Downturns


With rent and inflation on the rise, we are looking at what is likely to be a sustained economic downturn. As people struggle to make ends meet amid rising costs, charities providing essential services, including food and housing, will see an increase in the needs of the communities they serve. History suggests that even as demand grows, economic downturns reduce charitable donations. In 2008, charitable giving dropped 7 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars, followed by another 6.2 percent decrease in 2009. Giving didn’t begin to rebound until 2010, with just a 1.3 percent increase.