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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 22, 2019

Discover & Support Hidden Gem Charities this Holiday Season


I don’t know about you, but I love this time of year. For a few weeks, it feels like we’re largely able to put aside our differences for a renewed spirit of goodwill, hospitality, and generosity.

For many of us, the holiday spirit manifests itself in gifts to loved ones, as well as charities working on the causes close to our hearts. This year, make the most of those gifts by using Charity Navigator to inform your charitable giving. 

Keep reading for tips on how to get the most of our (forever) free charity ratings and donation resources this holiday season.

Discover an Organization

Has the holiday spirit ignited your inspiration and generosity? If you already have a favorite charity, or charities, you can skip down to “Review their Rating.” If you’re looking for a charity that aligns with your philanthropic interests, stay here.

Charity Navigator provides in-depth evaluations for more than 9,000 of America’s largest and most well-known organizations. We understand that you’re busy, especially this time of year, which is why we’ve made discovering the right charity for you quick and easy.

Through our Discover tool, you can find a charity working on a current issue (or Hot Topic), or begin your search with the cause you care most about. Simply select your favorite cause and sub-cause, and use the search filters in the left corner to filter your results. Some donors filter their search by a charity’s size, regional scope, or star rating.

Take some time to review your results--read through the charities’ mission statements to understand where and how an organization is tackling the issue it set out to solve. You can also scroll to the bottom of the charities’ profiles to view a list of charities performing similar kinds of work.

Review their Rating

Charity Navigator’s free charity ratings make it easy to determine whether or not a charity is worthy of your support. Our multidimensional ratings consider a charity’s financial health and accountability/transparency: two important indicators of an organization’s efficiency and efficacy.

Organizations receive a 0-4 star rating for their financial health, accountability and transparency, and overall performance. Charity Navigator strongly encourages donors to consider 3- and 4-star rated organizations, which we consider to be highly-rated and meeting or exceeding industry standards. Organizations that receive 0-, 1-, or 2-star ratings are in need of varying degrees of improvement to come in line with best practices.

Charity Navigator provides the information and data you need to do as deep a dive into a charity’s health and performance as you’d like. We have found that all some donors need to make their donation is a quick glance at our evaluations. Others prefer to spend time reviewing how much a charity spends on things like programs and fundraising, or what policies they have in place to protect their staff, constituents, and donors. Whichever route you decide, Charity Navigator has what you need to feel confident giving generously this holiday season.

Make your Donation

Once you’ve discovered a charity and reviewed its rating to determine that its worthy of your support, you’re ready to make a donation. Charity Navigator’s Giving Basket makes it easy to support the charity, or charities, you’ve been researching without having to leave our site. 

Charity Navigator’s Giving Basket is an easy, secure way to support the causes you’re passionate about. To initiate your donation, click on the green “Donate to this Charity” button at the top of the organization’s rating profile. A pop-up window will guide you through the donation process.

There are two additional features our users love about the Giving Basket. The first is their ability to give anonymously. Before you finalize your donation through the Giving Basket you have the opportunity to elect how much personal information you want to share with the organization you’re supporting. Whether you choose to share full information or remain anonymous, your gift will be properly receipted fully tax-deductible.

The second is their ability to support multiple charities in one, easy transaction. This saves time, keeping you from having to bounce from charity website to charity website to make all of your donations. It also eliminates the hassle of tracking down and saving all of those donation receipts. You will immediately receive an electronic receipt that reflects your individual and total contributions and the tax-deductible nature of your gifts.

Since its launch in October 2015, donors have used Charity Navigator’s Giving Basket to direct more than $67 million dollars to efficient and effective organizations. Join this community of satisfied donors by using the Giving Basket to make your year-end donations this holiday season.

More Tips and Tools

Charity Navigator helps America’s donors give confidently by providing them with the resources they need to make better-informed giving decisions. Thanks to the generous support of our users, we continue to offer all of our resources for free, all year round.

In addition to our ratings, some of our most popular resources are our Hot Topics, curated lists of highly-rated organizations working on a particular cause or issue; our Top Ten lists and Tips for Donors; and, this blog, which features expert voices, opinions, and guidance on topics like CEO compensation and support disaster relief effectively. And, there are many more tips and tools available to you at charitynavigator.org.

To our loyal readers who continue to use Charity Navigator to inform your charitable giving: thank you. Thank you for making us America’s largest and most-trust charity evaluator. To our new readers or first-time users: welcome. We hope you find our service and resources helpful, and welcome your thoughts and feedback. Please contact info@charitynavigator.org to ask questions and share comments with our team.

Written by Ashley Post, Communications Manager 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 >> 

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