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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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Friday, November 1, 2019

The Value of Prioritizing Accessibility for Cultural Institutions

Access Family Programs for children with
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Susan Marenoff-Zausner is the president of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, a nonprofit, educational institution featuring the legendary aircraft carrier Intrepid, the space shuttle Enterprise, the world’s fastest jets, and a guided missile submarine. And, the Museum is finding innovative ways to use technology to make this important cultural institution more accessible to all.    

People with disabilities continue to face barriers — physical, attitudinal, communication, social, programmatic, logistical, and financial — to accessing cultural and educational opportunities. The World Health Organization and the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities have outlined how these barriers further disable and isolate individuals, creating obstacles to socioeconomic growth and inclusion in communities, workplaces and online.

Museums and cultural institutions are integral to their communities — they offer opportunities for people to make meaningful connections, share a social experience, and be inspired. We think they bear a special responsibility to be welcoming for all. 
At the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, located on Manhattan’s West Side, being welcoming and accessible are themes that resonate deeply, and we understand and embrace our unique obligation as a cultural institution. 


Thursday, October 24, 2019

The Importance of Objectivity in Charity Evaluations


Charity Navigator is an objective charity evaluator, in that we apply our standard methodology to assess two areas of performance: the first being financial health, and the second being accountability and transparency (or governance). Ratings are given to all organizations that meet our criteria for an evaluation, irrespective of a charity's mission and without bias. 

You may be thinking, “How can you be a ‘navigator’ if you do not rate a charity’s mission or its values?”

This sentiment has been echoed by a handful of donors, and we think it’s important to clear the air...


Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Nonprofit Innovation: Team Culture & Employee Retention


Please stay tuned as we delve into a number of topics essential to innovation in the nonprofit sector, including programmatic methods and technology.

An organization’s team is essential to achieving its mission. How well an organization staffs, trains, and retains employees can have a direct impact on its program quality and outcomes. 

Before you donate, consider the ways an organization values and invests in its staff. Is it committed to helping its employees develop professionally in ways that will better serve its constituents? This important indicator not only reflects a culture of learning, but can shape employee engagement, morale, and overall performance, all of which influence retention.


Monday, October 21, 2019

5 Things to Consider When Supporting Disaster Relief and Recovery


Our friends at Hope for Haiti contributed this guest post based on their experience in short- and long-term disaster relief following the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Natural disasters and humanitarian crises are a recurring issue in many developing countries. Even the United States has been plagued with major hurricanes, tornadoes, and fires in recent years. With each passing year, organizations that serve these areas diligently prepare for the worst and hope for the best. For donors, it can feel overwhelming to research and choose an organization to support in the wake of a crisis. As one of Charity Navigator’s Top 10 Disaster Relief Organizations, we’re happy to share our best advice with you today on how organizations and donors can be good partners during humanitarian disasters.

At its core, a humanitarian response requires quickly developing efficiencies, sharing best practices among organizations/governmental agencies, and learning from past mistakes. At Hope for Haiti, for example, we adjusted our core programmatic approach after the Haiti Earthquake in 2010 based on what we learned during relief efforts. Following Hurricane Matthew in 2016, we were able to apply much of what we learned about logistics, donor communication, and balancing immediate disaster response with long-term recovery. We believe there is always room for improvement, and that’s why we’ve listed some things to consider when supporting relief efforts below:


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Thinking Big by Starting Small: Student Service-Learning & Civic Action


Anyone who has volunteered or been a part of a fundraiser knows that you get back so much more than what you give. And, while this applies to people of all ages, youth definitely benefit the most.

Today, many students begin volunteering or fundraising for charities at a young age, often teaming up with their schools, sports teams, or community organizations in order to support a charitable cause.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Collecting and Implementing Feedback: The Difference Between Good and Great


As we consider the evolution of our ratings, Charity Navigator sees collecting and learning from constituent feedback as a potentially critical marker of organizations’ capacity for impact. It implies organizations are taking steps to learn more about the individuals, groups, and communities they serve, and iterating on their current programs and products to become more effective.

And, it is our hope that, over time, donors will consider the ways organizations are engaging with the people they serve and learning from those interactions as part of their charitable research knowing that it’s an indicator of healthy, innovative charity.

At Charity Navigator, we are committed to making more and more decisions based on feedback from our donors, users, and the charities we evaluate. Here are some of the reasons we collect constituent feedback and why we think it is valuable to the evolution of our charity ratings and the nonprofit sector...