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Thursday, July 23, 2020

Behind the Scenes at Charity Navigator: The Analyst Team

As the charitable sector grows and evolves, we here at Charity Navigator pride ourselves on our ability to make impactful philanthropy easier for all. We accomplish this by providing a variety of tools on our website to empower donors and to help them make informed decisions in their charitable giving. These tools span from our Ratings Profiles, Advisory System, Hot Topic lists, Giving Basket, and so much more. 

Much of our work here is owed to the continuous efforts of our small but diligent Analyst Team. The team, consisting of seven Charity Navigator employees, work on a variety of tasks behind the scenes and are critical to so much of what we do.  


Our role


The primary role of an analyst is the review and publication of all of our star ratings. The analyst team currently rates approximately 9,526 charities throughout the year, working with organizations to publish the most accurate and up-to-date data. Each currently rated charity is organized into our Taxonomy by Category and Cause. These Causes are then assigned to analysts according to industry experience. The assigned analyst is then responsible for their Cause’s ratings throughout the year, deepening their expertise in each cause’s unique operations. 


For each rating, an analyst reviews IRS Form 990 financial data and additional publicly-available information. This information is then scored based on our Financial and Accountability & Transparency metrics. Once organizations have been rated, the team works together to provide quality assurance and finalizes the data for publication.


How do we work?


Analysts actively communicate with each of their assigned charities during the process, providing guidance and support for their efforts in the implementation of good governance practices. In addition to communicating with organizations, analysts communicate with our website users who are all prospective donors to the listed charities, educating them on our methodology and linking them to charities based on their interests and philanthropic priorities. 


Through the review of data and news, the team has a notable role in the advisory system. In working in direct communication with the Advisory System Manager, the analyst team members analyze and report issues of concern. These issues are then reviewed by the Advisory Committee. Once the committee reaches a consensus, the organizations’ profiles are often updated with the relevant information per the Advisory system methodology. This provides a more in-depth understanding of the charity to donors. 


Areas of Influence and Collaboration


Outside of time spent for scoring ratings, analysts find time for a variety of projects. A key role analysts play is the development of the ratings methodology. The methodology is regularly reviewed by the team, and is adapted based on current research of the sector’s best practices, as well as economic trends. In order to provide accurate and credible information, the team frequently conducts testing of both current and new metrics, aiming to further advance Charity Navigator’s ratings system. 


Analysts also regularly collaborate and provide insight to a variety of external groups. Our organization keeps a close eye on current events for Hot Topic lists, and members of the analyst team play a key role in the selection of nonprofits based on their ratings, current programs, and topical relevance, for these lists. The team also gives presentations to the public at conferences, and participates on a variety of teams and councils. 


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By being dynamic and adaptive, analysts are able to provide support for so much of Charity Navigator’s vision, mission and goals, and are key players in the organization's continuous growth. They aid in the development of ratings and other tools while also being active members of the philanthropic community. Their passion and enthusiasm in the furtherance of our mission could not be overstated, and with their hard work, Charity Navigator is better able to deepen the world’s commitment to giving. 



Written by Natasha Awari, Associate Program Analyst 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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