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Thursday, October 14, 2021

Charity Fraud Awareness Week: Do your research and exercise caution


From October 18 - 22, Charity Navigator, along with others in the philanthropic, nonprofit, and finance communities, will observe Charity Fraud Awareness Week. This annual event, now in its 6th year, brings together regulators, nonprofits, and donors in raising awareness of fraud within the charitable space, and encourages the sharing of information and resources that will help eliminate or drastically reduce the number of occurrences of fraud and its victims. 

Charity fraud, perhaps above all other factors, is one of the most detrimental forces to goodwill towards nonprofits. As stories of generous and kindhearted donors having their virtues preyed upon by unscrupulous fraudsters proliferate, trust and confidence in donating begins to give way to a lingering skepticism. No-one likes to feel money has been stolen from them. Donors make their gifts because they wish to see the world become a better place and, therefore, are dismayed to learn that their act of generosity has been repaid with callous unkindness. 

As donors understandably begin to harden their hearts to appeals for donations, nonprofits and their constituents lose out. Almost twenty years ago, the founders of Charity Navigator envisioned an unbiased and transparent source of information that would assist givers in finding charities to support. Our Star ratings and Encompass ratings exist to help assure donors that the nonprofit they want to support is financially responsible and employs good governance to ensure that their donations will be used responsibly in the delivery of their mission. In addition, the Charity Navigator Advisory System, launched in 2016, protects donors from reported or confirmed misconduct at nonprofits by providing unbiased and objective information that can be used to inform giving decisions. Our Advisory System also publicly identifies charities masquerading as legitimate charities. 

By availing our organization as a freely accessible resource, Charity Navigator helps to reverse the detrimental effects of charity fraud and mismanagement on donor trust. The vast majority of US-based nonprofits act in good faith, dedicated to making a difference. We believe that accountability and transparency around nonprofit operations are critical in building donors' ability to trust an organization. We commit ourselves to producing meaningful, transparent, and fair evaluations across our systems so that donors can give with confidence, while uplifting the voices and images of nonprofits who are operating at the most effective and transparent level. In times of crisis, we help fight against common opportunities for fraud by highlighting highly rated organizations responding to that crisis via our Hot Topics. Finally, donors can rest assured that their donations are going to a legitimately registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit every time they donate through our Giving Basket. 

So, this year, as we observe Charity Fraud Awareness Week, visit our Tips for Donors, including our charity fraud and ways to protect yourself from online scams articles on Charity Navigator. We also encourage you to visit preventcharityfraud.com. Above all, if you have credible publicly available information around potential or confirmed charity fraud, feel free to reach out to us at cnadvisory@charitynavigator.org and file a formal report with your state’s attorney general’s office, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).


Authored by Zachary Weinsteiger, Director, Advisory Operations 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...

I have told so many people about your web site/ More than the star rating I go by the salary paid the executives etc. I really don/t want to add to the several hundred thousand dollar salaries some draw.
Elaine Minden