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Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Culture & Community Beacon: Evaluating Nonprofit Interconnectedness

The Culture & Community beacon of the Encompass Rating System comprises two vital assessments: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and Constituent Feedback. These assessments evaluate the interconnectedness of an organization’s culture and commitment to fostering strong connections within its community. We believe equitable programming and thorough feedback practices demonstrate a nonprofit’s likelihood to deliver on its mission consistently. 

The Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) assessment measures an organization’s equity journey. Implementing effective DEI practices increase authentic representation and participation of internal stakeholders and program beneficiaries, particularly those from underrepresented groups. Charity Navigator partnered with Candid to collect DEI information via the Equity Strategies Checklist. Nonprofits must indicate the adoption of three or more practices to earn an assessment score. 

Constituent Feedback (CF) defines what it means to implement feedback well. CF permits nonprofits to share how they listen to and act upon building relationships with donors, funders, program beneficiaries, staff, board, volunteers, and other partners. Likewise, Charity Navigator partnered with Candid to collect nonprofit feedback processes via the How We Listen survey. Nonprofits that collect feedback and share how they use it will earn the full 100 points for this assessment. 

When nonprofits complete both assessments, DEI will account for 70%, while Constituent Feedback will account for 30% of the total Culture & Community score. The Culture & Community beacon accounts for 10% of the overall Encompass rating when Finance & Accountability and/or Impact & Results scores are present. For a complete scoring methodology, please refer to our Encompass FAQ

We encourage nonprofit representatives to log into your nonprofit’s Candid profile and complete the Equity Strategies Checklist and How We Listen survey by October 3, 2022. Data received by October 3 will be released under the unified rating system on November 1, 2022. 

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to complete each instrument: 

Equity Strategies Checklist:

  • Review Equity Strategy Checklist 
  • Consult with internal team to gather survey input, if necessary 
  • Navigate to the Demographics Section of your Candid Profile 
  • Click through to complete 

How We Listen:

  • Review How We Listen survey 
  • Consult with internal team to gather survey input, if necessary 
  • Navigate to the Update Nonprofit Profile on your Candid profile page 
  • Select edit and select How We Listen 
  • Click through to complete 

Please note: Charity Navigator will receive your data from Candid three times per year before our Rating updates. 

The Culture & Community rating ensures constituents are accounted for, provides a more nuanced outlook for donors, and highlights notable charities on our website. We have seen a donor demand for DEI and other metrics within the Culture & Community beacon. Therefore, we encourage organizations to provide us with this data to help donors make informed giving decisions. 

Please email cultureandcommunity@charitynavigator.org with any questions. 


Written by Bilal Taylor, VP of Culture and Leadership, Julia Bieniek, Ratings Program Manager, and Michael Campbell, Program Analyst at Charity Navigator.

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