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Monday, April 26, 2021

Meet the Team: My Nonprofit Journey - Marisa Andreazza

Welcome to our Meet The Team series, where each month we will introduce a 
member of the Charity Navigator team to our readers. 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 other profiles.

My name is Marisa Andreazza, and I have been a part of the Charity Navigator team for a little over two years. Prior to joining Charity Navigator, I was able to get a taste of the nonprofit sector by volunteering and by working as an intern as I completed my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. As an intern for organizations in the environmental space, I assisted with a bit of everything –from working on targeted advocacy campaigns, to helping with non-profit administration.

Even though I did not know it at the time, those initial experiences would go on to shape where I am today. After graduating, I spent some time exploring what I could do in the corporate world, but I quickly realized that there was a reason that I had always been drawn to the nonprofit sector (both personally and professionally). Nonprofits play a vital role in strengthening communities by providing critical services, advocating for change, etc., and I am grateful that my experiences led me to be able to work with so many of them each and every day.

As a Program Analyst at Charity Navigator, I am responsible not only for the ratings themselves, but also for ratings-related correspondence from nonprofits and donors alike. Each member of the analyst team oversees a particular set of charities, broken up by cause area, based on our own interest and background. Some of the cause areas that I oversee include Environmental Protection and Conservation; Botanical Gardens, Parks, and Nature Centers; Advocacy and Education; and Non-Medical Science and Technology, to name a few. Beyond charity evaluation and analysis, my job also entails working on projects to improve taxonomy, methodology, etc., as well as working on various efforts across teams.

The opportunity to collaborate so readily with colleagues across all teams is actually one of the things that I love most about Charity Navigator. We all work together pretty seamlessly, and everyone here is so genuinely passionate and dedicated to the work that they do. Despite a seemingly common misconception that Charity Navigator is made up of a large staff, we are actually a small (but mighty!) team of around 25, so any major accomplishment is very much an all-hands-on-deck effort.

This is something about the nonprofit sector in general that I have always been drawn to: you feel very connected not only to the work that you perform each day, but also to the bigger picture. What this might look like varies for every nonprofit, but I think it holds true across the sector. At Charity Navigator, we all have the opportunity to wear multiple hats and to be involved in collaborative practices of idea generation and decision-making across teams, which makes me feel incredibly connected to our larger goals. On a more macro level, working at a nonprofit often means remaining heavily mission-driven, and sharing common values that place the greater good at the forefront of everyday work. This is fundamentally what has kept me in the nonprofit sector. Being able to head to work every morning knowing that your day-to-day work is actually serving a greater purpose is both motivating and rewarding. 

I like to think of nonprofits as ‘engineers’ of social good/social change. Nonprofits play an important role by listening to stakeholders, designing and implementing solutions based on need, creating impact, and ultimately effecting social change. Our work at Charity Navigator (and the work to come as we expand our Encompass methodology) aims to show the working parts behind the ‘engineering’. I am grateful to be a part of a team that plays this role within the nonprofit sector. Being able to highlight the wonderful work that nonprofits are doing—and to provide donors with the information they need to inform their charitable giving—makes doing my job easy.

Written by Marisa Andreazza, Program Analyst at Charity Navigator.

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