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Monday, March 29, 2021

Meet the Team: My Nonprofit Journey - Matthew Viola

Welcome to our new series, where each month we will introduce a member of the Charity Navigator team. Millions of visitors come to Charity Navigator annually, and they may be surprised to learn that we're a staff of 24! We often proudly state that we are a "small yet mighty team"-- achieving a lot with the resources we have, while staying focused on our mission. 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 more profiles.

My name is Matthew Viola, and I am Vice President of Program Analyst Operations at Charity Navigator. Currently, I have a unique and proud attribute: I am the longest tenured employee at Charity Navigator. For the past nine years, I have led the analyst team, which is a group of highly-specialized analysts who produce the star ratings, advisories, and methodology changes, and correspond directly with nonprofits and site users. It is a cohesive team that I am proud to be a part of, and one that compiles thousands of ratings and efficiently handles thousands of customer support inquiries a year. 

When I was in college, I studied Finance with the plan to work on Wall Street. After graduation, that did happen. While I enjoyed my time there and learned a lot, I began to realize that a career on Wall Street was not going to be a long term path for me. I began looking for other opportunities mostly in the for-profit sector. After several unsuccessful searches, one day, I clicked a simple filter button on a career website that would alter my path greatly. That filter button was titled “nonprofit.”  

After reviewing a few pages of employment opportunities, I read the job posting for an analyst at Charity Navigator. While I very much liked the idea of shortening my commute and avoiding daily travel into New York City, the job description grabbed me in so many ways. One, was the mission-- to “guide intelligent giving,” which was incredibly admirable and something that resonated with me. Two, the organization presented an atmosphere of collegiality and collaborativeness, and seemed to be a great environment to work in. Three, I saw the opportunity to use my knowledge and skills regarding financial analysis in another sector, one that is very rewarding. My only nonprofit experience until then had been some local volunteering. 

Charity Navigator is a unique nonprofit, but for anyone considering a career change who has not yet considered the sector, I highly recommend they consider it. Most skills one uses in the for-profit sector can be easily transferred and used in the nonprofit sector. And, it is a sector that will allow you to interact with people from all walks of life making great differences in the world. 

Over the years, I continue to be amazed when learning about nonprofits and their missions that I never knew existed. I also love the fact that my work here at Charity Navigator is multiplied across the sector and the world. We are technically a small organization based in New Jersey, but the charities we evaluate work locally, nationally, and internationally. The donors that support them are located worldwide. I suggest that everyone get involved in this sector in some capacity as either an employee, donor, or volunteer. Like me, you won’t regret it! 

Written by Matthew Viola, Vice President Program Analyst Operations at Charity Navigator.

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