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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, March 25, 2019

What the World Needs Now...

Today’s world of philanthropy is ever-changing in positive ways.  We can be encouraged as a society by the growth we are witnessing of social enterprise within the nonprofit sector. Given the growth of this sector, coupled with the billions of dollars in potential donations, Charity Navigator is constantly seeking to advance our mission of making impactful philanthropy easier for all.

In a world where the regular collection of data is increasingly accessible for nonprofit organizations, nonprofits have the ability to consistently and meaningful measure the results of their programs and activities. The proliferation of data collection software, platforms and service providers is empowering nonprofits to tell the story of their accomplishments in compelling and powerful ways.

Given this reality, it is an exciting time to be at Charity Navigator. Why? Because as the industry’s largest, independent charity evaluator, we are uniquely poised to make impactful philanthropy easier for all. If you already value our service then you know we are committed to providing donors, like you, with quality tools and information. We are always looking for new ways to expand these offerings to ensure you have all of the information you need to make more informed giving decisions. So, how are we working to expand the information and resources we offer donors? Similar to the indicators defined to assess the Financial Health and Accountability and Transparency of charities, we are creating a framework of key markers to assess the impact of nonprofit programming across multiple cause areas. 

The finished product will be a framework which provides donors with detailed information about the specific accomplishments of their donations to a given charity. Additionally, it will include a structured and uniform platform through which nonprofit organizations will have the opportunity to self-report on the impact of their work.
Sound useful?  We think so too!  Now, if you’re wondering “What exactly is impact?” or, “Why should I care?”, know that you are not alone. You are wise to ask these questions, particularly when it comes to the larger question of “what is my donation to a nonprofit accomplishing?” Simply stated, impact is the difference made by a nonprofit's program. Part of the recent buzz around the term 'impact'  has been generated by increasing use of the term as a cost-effective quantification of a program’s outcome, both in the nonprofit and for-profit social enterprise space (this is commonly referred to as “impact investing”).

Charity Navigator's goal in creating a sector-wide framework for nonprofit impact reporting is to take the guesswork out of the common question,  “What is my money doing?”
Our impact reporting framework will provide a relevant set of indicators designed to quantify and describe a donor’s “return on investment”, including the positive social, economic and/or environmental changes that can be attributed to their gift.
Charity Navigator sees this initiative as an exciting opportunity for nonprofits and the donors who support them. This framework will help charities better understand how to measure and talk about their impact. And, donors will have additional information to make more impactful giving decisions, thereby facilitating the creation of the healthier world we are collectively striving to create.

Written by Emily Williams, Director of Programs at Charity Navigator.

As a 501 (c) (3) organization itself, Charity Navigator depends on public support to help donors make informed choices. Please consider investing in the future of Charity Navigator by making a donation today.  Donate now >>

1 comment:

Unknown said...

How can one be certain of the ratings and numbers that are given to these charities? Could they not "buy ratings" from unscrupulous sectors, such as those who monitor funds, do accounting etc,? I hate to appear so jaded, but if I've learned anything in life, it's that money has a way of changing people and sometimes can change their morals.