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Questions about using our site

 

How do I find a charity on your site?
You can use our trusted ratings to find a charity you can support. Our intelligent search engine will help you identify a charity by name or keyword by simply using the search feature found in the yellow box located at the top of every page. Then you can refine your search using the 'Filter Your Search Results' function located on the left-hand side of the search results. This tool enables you to filter by category, state, rating, size, scope of a charity's work and by whether or not it has a privacy policy.

Additionally, you may wish to try our advanced search feature, view all 4-star charities, or explore an alphabetical list of the thousands of charities that we've evaluated.

 

How can I compare charities?
First, you must be a Registered User to access the charity comparison feature. Once logged in, you have several ways to compare charities. You can compare charities within any listing of search results by simply clicking the box located in the left-hand column next to the charities that you wish to compare and then clicking the 'Compare Charities' button at the top of the search results. This method enables you to compare up to five charities. Alternatively, you can view a comparison of a charity with similar charities by clicking the "Compare These Charities" button on a charity's rating page. Lastly, you can select favorite charities and compare them from the 'My Charities' page.

Become a Registered User now.

 

What are the benefits of registration?
Tools for registered users are designed for philanthropists who want to take a more in-depth look at the charitable sector. Registration allows you to access expanded features including the ability to create a personalized portfolio of charities, see more in-depth financial data on your favorite charities and compare their performance to other charities across the country. Registered users also receive our monthly newsletter keeping them informed of new trends in charitable giving. Should you choose not to register, you still have unlimited access to our thousands of free charity ratings.

If you haven't already done so, become a registered user now.

 

How can I review prior ratings?

To review a charity's prior ratings, you will first need to become a registered user. Then simply click on the 'Historical Data' tab located towards the top of the charity's ratings page next to the 'Current Rating' tab.

 

How can I share a list of charities with others?
We offer an easy way to not only share your research with others, but to also request that your friends and family make a donation to one of your favorite charities in your honor for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and other special occasions.

First, you must be a Registered User to access the ‘My Charities’ and ‘Share My Charities’ features. Once logged in, you can begin to create personalized lists of charities by clicking on ‘Add to My Charities’ on any charity’s ratings page or in the search results. By default, the charity will be assigned to a general group.

You can then create customized groups of charities – such as based on a charity’s mission or for special occasions - by clicking on ‘Edit My Groups’ in the upper left hand corner of the ‘My Charities’ page. Once you have created customized groups, you have the ability to directly add a charity into a specific group from its ratings page or from the search results. You can also add or remove a charity from a group directly on the main ‘My Charities’ page.

Finally, to share one of your groups with friends and family, go to the ‘My Charities’ portion of the site and click on the ‘Share This List’ link next to the group you wish to share. A new window will pop up asking you to enter the recipients’ email addresses along with a personalized message..

 

I requested that Charity Navigator rate a specific charity. When will it be on your site?

Charity Navigator currently evaluates thousands of charitable organizations, making us America's largest charity evaluator. Given the size of our database and the criteria we use to determine eligibility, we are confident that we presently report on the vast majority of charities which actively solicit and receive donations from generous Americans. In fact, the ones we evaluate account for roughly 50% of the donations in America.

Previously, we welcomed your suggestions for charities to be added to our website. For now, since we do not have the capacity to add a significant number of charities to our site, we are no longer accepting suggestions. This will enable us to focus

  1. on annually updating each charity’s rating that is currently on our site
  2. on our plans to expand our ratings methodology.

Since we have every intention of rating more charities in the future, we have maintained a record of all previously requested charities. If we are able to secure the necessary funding to increase our capacity, then we will look to that list to add charities to our site.

 

What happened to 'my requests' (the charities I requested Charity Navigator rate)?

We are no longer accepting requests and have therefore removed the 'my requests' area of the site. All prior requests are stored in our files. And we will consult that list of requests when we are able to once again add charities to our site.

 


Questions about Charity Navigator's rating system

 

How do you evaluate charities?

We rate charities by evaluating two broad areas of performance; their Financial Health and their Accountability & Transparency. Our ratings show givers how efficiently we believe a charity will use their support today, how well it has sustained its programs and services over time and their level of commitment to being accountable and transparent. In the not-too-distant future, we plan to also rate charities’ reporting of their results. We provide these ratings so that givers can make intelligent giving decisions, and so that the philanthropic community can more effectively monitor itself.

Visit the Methodology section of our site to read an in-depth explanation of our rating system.

 

How does Charity Navigator calculate a charity's overall score?

The overall score is not a sum or average of the Financial Health score and the Accountability & Transparency score. It is essentially a measurement of the distance of the component scores in the two dimensions from the theoretically perfect score of 70 and 70. The smaller the distance, the better the overall score. A more detailed explanation of the calculation and a useful calculator to help you see how the math works is accessible on our site here.

 

Where does the data come from?

We base our evaluations on a review of the charity's website for specific items (such as the charity's donor privacy policy) and on the information each charity provides annually in its informational tax returns, or IRS Forms 990. This document is created from the charity's professionally audited books and is signed by an executive at the organization affirming it to be factual. Charities submit it under oath to the IRS as the truth and also deliver it to their state attorney general as required by law.

 

How do I interpret your star system?
Visit What Do Our Ratings Mean?

 

What is your ratings scale?

Charity Navigator scores charities on a scale of 0 to 4 stars.

We also post Donor Advisories which highlight issues of concern that donors should take into account before donating. Because of the serious nature of the underlying issues, we remove the charity’s star rating and replace it with the Donor Advisory.

The Methodology portion of our site contains more detailed information about the scales we use.

 

Why do you use the Form 990?

We use the Form 990 exclusively because it is the only financial statement that charities are required by law to make publicly available. The document also includes information about the charity's policies and procedure. Furthermore, the instructions for filling it out are straight-forward and universal, ensuring that our data is uniform, comparable, and allows for standardized growth measurements.

 

How current is your data?
Charity Navigator receives copies of the Form 990 directly from the IRS shortly after a charity files. Thus our ratings are based on the most current information made public by each charity. We publish the fiscal year ending (shown as 'FYE' followed by a month and year) on each charity's rating page so you know the time period our rating covers.

That said, charities are given 135 days following the end of their fiscal year to prepare and file their Form 990. Beyond that time limit, many charities request extensions, including an additional four-month time limit, which are automatically approved by the IRS. As a result, organizations often file their 990 eight to ten months after their fiscal year ends-- a lifetime in financial sectors. If the charity you are considering has outdated financial information, we encourage you to contact them and tell them you expect them to be timelier. Their timeliness in reporting their data will allow you to make smarter giving decisions.

 

When do you publish new and updated ratings?
The first day of every month, we publish new ratings, as well as update ratings for all currently evaluated charities for which we've received new Form 990s.

 

Does Charity Navigator charge for its evaluations?

No. Charity Navigator charges neither the user, for the data, nor the charity, to be listed. Our sole goal is to guide intelligent giving and serve as a resource for the educated giver.

 

Does the CEO salary impact a charity's rating?

The CEO salary does not impact a charity's Financial Health rating. We provide this information solely as part of our larger effort to bring transparency to the charitable sector and to help educate donors. It is a matter of public record. In publishing this data we also enable charities to benchmark their executives' compensation against that of their peers.

However, failure to properly report CEO compensation information on a charity's form 990 will result in a deduction of points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.

 

Why is the CEO's salary greater than the amount the charity spends on administrative expenses?
Salaries, including that of the CEO, are allocated to the various expense categories (program, administration and fundraising) depending on the specific responsibilities of each employee. For example, a museum curator might spend 60% of their time creating exhibits and the remaining 40% writing grants to fund the exhibits. If this curator has an annual salary of $50,000, then $30,000 would be allocated to program expenses and $20,000 to fundraising expenses.

While this is a rather simplistic example, this type of scenario holds true for CEOs. Most CEOs spend at least part of their time raising funds for their charities and not all their time dealing with administrative issues. Some even participate in the charity's programs and services. Therefore the CEO's salary will be allocated to the different expense categories based on the percentage of time spent on each activity. That is why total administration expenses may be less than the CEO's salary.

 

What salaries are reported in the expanded Leadership section of the charity rating page?

For most charities, you will find that we continue to report only the compensation of the person holding the highest titled management position of the charity, as our experience indicates that in most instances, this compensation level is representative of the importance placed on salary by the organization. When a charity leader receives a salary from the charity and from an affiliate entity (or entities), we will publish the amounts in separate columns, rather than presenting a single aggregate amount as we have done in the past. We do not include affiliate compensation when we report the compensation as a percentage of total functional expenses.

At the same time, we want to help donors understand how other charities compensate the decision makers and key personnel involved with the organization. Therefore, when appropriate, we disclose compensation paid to Board Directors; persons earning as much or more than the chief executive; persons sharing the chief executive title; former chief executives still on payroll; relatives of Board members, founders and officers; and persons holding honorary titles within the organization.

If a charity does not list any compensation for the leader of the organization, we will attempt to report the compensation paid to the person responsible for running the day-to-day operations of the organization. In addition to this executive, we will list other highly compensated employees who may assume functions traditionally performed by a chief executive.

 

Why doesn't Charity Navigator evaluate program effectiveness?
At this time, evaluating the effectiveness of a charity's programs is out of our scope. We hope over time to expand the information we provide donors, and that includes developing a methodology for measuring an organization's results. Please visit the About Us area of our site to learn more about our plans.

 

Is the rating provided for a charity located in one state applicable to the charity's operations in other states?
How we treat this issue depends on how the charity files its financial information with the IRS.

  • For example, we evaluate the American Red Cross based on its Form 990 which includes data from all of its US chapters. Therefore, our evaluation reflects the financial health of this charity's entire operations including its national office and all of its chapters.
  • Some well-known charities, like the American Lung Association, are actually legally considered a group of separately incorporated organizations. Each of those organizations files a separate Form 990, and we evaluate each of them separately, rather than evaluating them as if they were a single organization. In some cases, we've been able to work with the charity's leadership to obtain consolidated data in order to provide our users with a single rating that shows the financial health of the entire organization.

 

What is the distribution of star ratings?
The good news for donors is that the majority of charities on our site have 3 and 4-star ratings meaning that they are good stewards of donors' contributions. Specifically, among the over 7,000 charities evaluated by Charity Navigator 30% obtained a four-star rating, 46% received a three-star rating, 18% received a two-star rating, 4% received a one-star rating and only 1% received zero stars.

 

Why does a charity have a Donor Advisory, but no rating?
If our Donor Advisory Issuance Committee determines that a Donor Advisory is warranted, then the charity’s rating is replaced by the Donor Advisory. We take this approach because the issues that led to the posting of the Advisory are serious enough to diminish our confidence in the data upon which the rating is based or that other factors beyond our current rating dimensions are of significant concern.. Furthermore, we believe that a charity’s results are the most critical factor in selecting a charity to support and the problems identified in the Donor Advisory may reduce the charity's ability to create quality results. See How we decide to post a Donor Advisory.

 


Questions about specific charities

 

Why don't you list the Salvation Army?

The Salvation Army is exempt under Internal Revenue Code from filing Form 990 as a "church or convention or association of churches." As a result, we lack sufficient data to evaluate their financial health. We know many donors are interested in this organization and have asked the Salvation Army to submit their financial data to us for review, and they have elected to decline, as they are allowed under federal law.

 

Why doesn’t Charity Navigator evaluate Land Trusts and Preserves anymore?
Due to the nature of their operations, land trusts and preserves have the potential to realize wild fluctuations in revenue from year to year due to inconsistencies associated with large land acquisitions and donations of valuable real property. To further complicate matters, within the sector there remains some disagreement as to how certain related expenses should be reported on the IRS Form 990. Inconsistent factors may yield inconsistent evaluations over time and so in keeping with our promise to provide reliable information and to evaluate all charities fairly, we have decided to no longer evaluate charities classified as Land Trusts and Preserves.

 

Which charities do you evaluate?

Visit the Methodology section for specific information about the charities we evaluate

 

What does it mean that the charity I'm looking for isn't rated?
If we do not rate a specific charity, then it simply means that either the organization doesn't meet our criteria or our program team hasn't been able to analyze that charity yet. Charity Navigator currently evaluates more than 7,000 charitable organizations, making us America's largest charity evaluator. Given the size of our database and the criteria we use to determine eligibility, we are confident that we presently report on the vast majority of charities which actively solicit and receive donations from generous Americans. In fact, the ones we evaluate account for roughly 50% of the donations in America (excluding donations to houses of worship). But with approximately 1 million public charities in this country, there are many that we have yet to rate.

In the meantime, you will find that every nonprofit does have a page of basic information on our site, even if we haven't yet rated it. And, if we do not rate a charity that is of interest to you, then we suggest you follow the steps outlined in the article, Evaluating Charities Not Currently Rated by Charity Navigator, to make an informed decision about that charity.

 

How can I get Charity Navigator to rate my favorite charity?

Charity Navigator currently evaluates more than 7,000 charitable organizations, making us America's largest charity evaluator. Given the size of our database and the criteria we use to determine eligibility, we are confident that we presently report on the vast majority of charities which actively solicit and receive donations from generous Americans. In fact, the ones we evaluate account for roughly 50% of the donations in America (excluding donations to houses of worship).

In the not-too-distant future, we will add a tool to our site that will give registered users the opportunity to 'vote' for which charities they’d like us to rate next. Become a registered user and subscribe to our newsletter so you can be notified when we add the voting tool.

And in the meantime, every nonprofit does have a page of basic information on our site, even if we haven't yet rated it.

 

What immediate impact will the redesigned IRS Form 990 have on my charity’s next Charity Navigator evaluation?

The IRS is affording certain 501(c)(3) organizations the option of a transition period with regard to use of the redesigned Form 990 for Fiscal Years 2008, 2009 and 2010. Specifically, small and mid-sized charities may use the IRS Form 990-EZ while they become familiar with the more comprehensive Form (for more information, please see the IRS Instructions).

Charity Navigator is unable to use Forms 990-EZ in our analysis, as this Form requires significantly less financial reporting than the Form 990. If an organization chooses to file the Form 990-EZ during the phase-in period, we will be unable to continue to publish an evaluation, and thus the rating page for the charity will be removed from our website.

 

How to Report Misconduct by a Charity

If you suspect that a charity is engaged in unethical or unlawful activity, then we encourage you to report that information to the government authorities that are responsible for regulating nonprofits.

At the federal level, nonprofit regulation resides in the hands of the IRS. The IRS website offers instructions for filing a complaint about a nonprofit by either:

In most states, nonprofit regulation is the responsibility of the Attorney General or the Secretary of State. The National Association of State Charity Officials’ website provides links to many of the state offices that regulate charities.

 


Questions about donating

 

How can I donate goods, such as books, cars and food, instead of cash?
Many charities are equally grateful to receive gifts of cash as they are donated goods. Since the needs of an individual charity change frequently, we are unable to provide you with a list of charities and the types of goods they'll accept. We recommend that you use our site as a tool to find a well-run charity in your region. Then, contact that charity directly, using the information we provide, to determine if the organization is interested in receiving your goods.

Read this article for specific information about donating your car to charity and visit our Tips and Resources to learn if your donated goods qualify as tax-deductible.

 

Should I use your ratings exclusively to determine if I should support a charity?
We believe our ratings will dramatically improve the quantity and especially the quality of information available to givers. Our ratings provide clear, objective, and reliable assessments of the financial health of charities. By using our ratings, givers can truly know how a charity's financial health compares with that of its peers and of charities throughout the country. Givers can be confident that in supporting those charities rated highly by Charity Navigator, they will be supporting organizations that are fiscally responsible and financially healthy.

That said, we do not recommend using our ratings as the only factor in deciding whether to support a particular organization. Givers should also seek out additional information from charities directly and through other private and public sources to evaluate what a charity does and how well they do it. Intelligent giving depends on reliable information. Charity Navigator provides an important piece of this information, and we encourage givers to learn as much as they can about a charity before deciding to support it.

 

Is it better to give to many charities or just a few?
Unlike your investment portfolio, diversification isn't a good strategy when giving to charity. We suggest that you take the time to find a few well-run charities that match your interests and make a commitment to support those charities over time. By concentrating your giving among a few outstanding charities, your donations will do more good than if you contributed small gifts to a wide array of charities.

Once you take the time to identify your favorite charities, Charity Navigator's free tools for registered users can help you keep track of them. If you haven't already done so, register now.

 

The CEO's salary of my favorite charity seems high, should I make a contribution?
While there are certainly some charities that overpay their leaders, Charity Navigator's data shows that those organizations are the minority. Among the charities we've evaluated, the typical CEO salary is roughly $150,000. Before you make any judgments about salaries higher or lower than this average, we encourage you to keep in mind that these charities are complex organizations, with multi-million dollar budgets, hundreds of employees, and thousands of constituents. These leaders could inevitably make much more running similarly sized for-profit firms. Furthermore, when making your decision it is important to consider that it takes a certain level of professionalism to effectively run a charity and charities must offer a competitive salary if they want to attract and retain that level of leadership.

For additional information, please take a look at Charity Navigator's CEO Compensation study.

 

What else should I know before I give?

Visit our Tips and Resources for a list of Questions to Ask before you turn over your hard earned money to charity.

 


Questions about the tax implications of charitable giving

 

Can I deduct the full price of the ticket for a charitable event?
Not quite, but close. Charitable groups often sponsor events in order to raise money. You can deduct the cost of tickets to these events, but the amount shown on the ticket you buy isn't necessarily the amount you can deduct. Suppose you pay $50 for a special film screening designed to benefit a cause you support. If you can see that movie somewhere else for $8, you've made a contribution of $42. If the 'regular price' is not indicated on the ticket or anywhere else, just note the normal price for similar events or activities in your area and reduce your donation by that amount.

 

Can I get a deduction for donating my car to charity?
If you donate your car to a non-profit organization with tax-exempt status, then you can take a deduction. But valuing your deduction can be tricky. For vehicles worth more than $500, your deduction is limited to the amount the car actually sold for at auction and the IRS requires a written receipt from the charity detailing the exact amount the car garnered. Fair market value can be used to determine your deduction only in the following situations: the car is worth less than $500, the charity keeps and uses the car, the charity improves the car before selling it, or if the car is sold at a discounted price to a person with a low income.

The IRS scrutinizes these types of deductions so we encourage donors to be cautious when valuing vehicle donations. We suggest you read our Guide To Donating Your Car.

 

Can I deduct all my giving?
Make sure your generosity during the coming year pays off as much as possible by documenting all of your deductions. The big contributions which translate to the big deductions are hard to overlook - what you give your church or synagogue or alma mater. But little expenses from your good-deed-doing can also mount up. Whether it's out-of-pocket contributions to a bell-ringer or what you pay for supplies while you're doing charitable work, if the money is going to help a qualified charitable organization (not an individual), you get a deduction. If you drive your own car while doing volunteer work, you can deduct 14 cents a mile. If your charitable work takes you out of town overnight as the official delegate to a church meeting, for example, you can deduct the cost of transportation and the cost of your meals and lodging.

Starting in 2007, the IRS requires written documentation to substantiate deductions for all monetary donations - including cash. In case of an audit, you must have a canceled check, credit card statement or a written acknowledgement from the charity (showing the charity's name, the date of the donation and the amount given). You will no longer be able to deduct those few dollars you dropped in a charity's collection bucket without a receipt from the charity to back up your claim.

 

How do I establish the market value of used items I donate to charity?
When you give used clothes or other items to charity, the Internal Revenue Service will allow you to deduct the fair market value of the items on your income tax return. The IRS isn't in the appraisal business, so it can't tell you exactly how much each item you donate is worth. Instead, the agency says the fair market value of used clothes, furniture and similar items is the amount people would pay for the items at thrift shops or used clothing stores. You can determine the size of the deduction to take by checking with local stores.

 

Can we deduct the cost of old furniture we donate to a local homeless shelter?
If you donate personal possessions -- a couch, refrigerator, clothes or the like -- to a bona fide charity, you can take a tax deduction for the property's fair market value. To protect yourself in case you are eventually audited, ask for an itemized receipt for the items regardless of whether they are worth $25 or $250. Keep in mind that the IRS only permits deductions for donations of clothing and household items that are in "good used condition or better." And the IRS requires a qualified appraisal to be submitted with the tax return for any single clothing or household item that is not in good used condition or better and for which you deduct more than $500.

We suggest you read our Guide to Donating Noncash Items.

 

Can I deduct donations made from an IRA?

No, you can not claim a deduction for donations made from an IRA. However, in 2006-2013, taxpayers who are at least 70½ can directly contribute up to $100,000 from a traditional or Roth IRA to a public charity without having to count the gift as taxable income.

 


Questions about Charity Navigator

 

When was Charity Navigator created?
A detailed explanation of Charity Navigator's founding in 2001 is available in the History section of this website.

 

What is Charity Navigator's mission?
Charity Navigator works to guide intelligent giving. We help charitable givers make intelligent giving decisions by providing information on over five thousand charities and by evaluating the financial health of each of these charities. We ensure our evaluations are widely used by making them easy to understand and freely available to the public. By guiding intelligent giving, we aim to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace, in which givers and the charities they support work in tandem to overcome our nation's most persistent challenges.

 

Is Charity Navigator affiliated with another organization of any kind?
No. Charity Navigator is not affiliated with any other charity in the world, so you can trust that our information is 100% objective.

 

How is Charity Navigator funded?
A nonprofit ourselves, Charity Navigator was originally funded by the New York philanthropists, John and Marion Dugan, who believed that an unbiased charity evaluator needed to be created to help benevolent citizens make informed giving decisions. Since that 2001 funding, Charity Navigator has actively sought contributions from foundations, corporations, and individuals who think that we provide a valuable service to the American public. Click here to find out more about supporting us.

Again, Charity Navigator does not charge our users to access our rating information, nor do we charge the charities to be evaluated, ensuring that you can trust the data we deliver.

 

Who works for Charity Navigator?
The Charity Navigator staff consists of people from a variety of professional disciplines who have come together in the belief that the philanthropic marketplace will benefit from a new level of unbiased financial analysis. Our analysts are drawn not only from the fields of education and non-profit management, but also from positions of skill within the for-profit sector.

Additional information about Charity Navigator's Board and staff can be obtained by reviewing the Leadership portion of this website.

 

How can I help Charity Navigator?
If you are an individual donor, the best way you can support Charity Navigator is to not only use our service to find a charity you wish to support, but to tell your friends and colleagues about us.

If you represent a foundation or a corporation, the best way you can support our work is to not only tell a friend about us, but to contact us to discuss ways we can develop partnerships so we can maximize all our efforts to ensure charitable giving not only survives, but thrives.

Information about supporting Charity Navigator is available in the Support Us section of this website. The Link to Us page includes banner ads, logos and suggested text to accompany links. We also offer several PSAs for Podcasters to use to promote responsible giving.

 

Is Charity Navigator hiring?
We are always looking for smart, talented, energetic people who believe in reforming the philanthropic marketplace in order to promote increased and responsible philanthropy. If you are interested, please email your resume to jobs@charitynavigator.org

 

How can I contact Charity Navigator?
Click here to contact us.

 

What is Charity Navigator's EIN#?
Charity Navigator is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the EIN# 13-4148824.

 


Questions about donating through Network for Good

 

Why is Charity Navigator now offering online giving?
Many of our users told us that they value our service for its ability to help them make informed giving decisions, but that they wished they could use the information provided to make a subsequent gift to one of the charities featured on our site.

 

What is Network for Good?
Network for Good, a nonprofit organization, was founded by a consortium of leaders from the Internet and nonprofit sectors. It seeks to increase consumers' engagement by making it easier to get involved in their communities, by donating, volunteering, and getting involved with issues they care about. At the same time, Network for Good helps other nonprofits to enhance their effectiveness through increased reach, educational content, and tools.

 

Why did Charity Navigator choose to partner with Network for Good?
Network for Good is the industry leader for online charitable giving. Since its inception more than 400,000 donors have contributed more than $100 million using the Network for Good giving system.

 

Why should I give online?
Contributions via the Internet are one of the cheapest ways for nonprofits to receive donations; they are less expensive than both checks by mail and credit card contributions made over the phone.

For donors, giving online is easier than writing a check and putting it in the mail. An added benefit from using Network for Good is that your giving records are maintained in one place, making your life easier at tax time and when you want to give again.

 

How do I know if my transaction is secure?
Network for Good uses industry-leading Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology to keep your personal information as secure as possible. Network for Good helps to protect your information by working with partners that provide a secure and safe environment for credit card donations.

 

What about my privacy?

Charity Navigator does not sell or otherwise disclose user information outside our organization. This policy has no exceptions. We do not sell or exchange your information with any other organization, public, private, or non-profit. Our Privacy page offers more details about our commitment to internet privacy.

Network for Good also respects and protects your privacy. Network for Good will never sell, trade or rent your personal information to other individuals or companies. The information that you provide is used only to complete your donation. With your permission, your name and contact information will be provided to the charity you supported through Network for Good. If you do not wish share your name and contact information with the charity you supported through Network for Good or you choose to make your donation anonymously, Network for Good will not share you name or contact information.

When you create an account with Network for Good you may receive occasional emails from Network for Good updating you on charities and noteworthy developments in online philanthropy. If you do not wish to hear from Network for Good, simply use the unsubscribe feature on these emails and/or contact Network for Good directly.

Network for Good's website uses industry standard security measures to protect against the loss, misuse and alteration of the information under its control. All information is stored in a secure database.

 

Are there fees when I donate through Network for Good?
Yes. Network for Good charges a 4.75% tax-deductible fee for credit card transactions, which you can add or deduct from your donation. This fee is used to pay banks, credit card companies and other administrative costs. Charity Navigator and Network for Good do not profit from the fees.

Network for Good charges a $10 fee for online check transactions containing one donation and a $5 fee per donation for transactions containing multiple donations. The online check fees cover check vendor, banking and administrative costs. Charity Navigator and Network for Good do not profit from these fees either.

 

Why shouldn't I just give directly to a charity and avoid paying Network for Good's fees?

Although we've added the convenience of online giving, we recognize that some of our users prefer to directly contribute to their favorite charities. As such, each charity's contact information is prominently displayed on its ratings page.

But electing to contribute directly to a charity does not mean that you avoid paying processing fees. Even the charities themselves incur fees when processing your gift. The difference is that Network for Good is explicit in explaining those costs and offers you the opportunity to cover those fees. Even when you do not elect to cover the 4.75% fee, using Network for Good still saves your favorite charity money because Network for Good's processing fees are relatively low. Many charities have to pay more to credit card companies. Furthermore, giving online saves your charity postage and check processing costs.

 

Why am I asked to contribute to Charity Navigator?
Charity Navigator, a nonprofit ourselves, depends on donations to fund our analysis of the charities receiving your support. We are committed to providing this information at no charge. But, if you believe that our in-depth, objective charity ratings were vital in guiding your charitable decisions, then we ask that you please consider a gift to Charity Navigator.

To learn more about supporting Charity Navigator, click here.

 

I had a problem processing my donation, how can I get assistance?
Since the entire donation process is operated by Network for Good, you will need to consult their Frequently Asked Questions or contact Network for Good directly for help.

 

If I donate using Network for Good, when will the charity receive my gift?
Charities receive donations on the 15th day of the month after donations were made.

 


Questions about login problems

 

When I try to sign in, the page just refreshes and doesn't show an error. What's going on?

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  2. Select Internet Options.
  3. Click the General tab.
  4. Clear your browser's cache. Note that it can take up to 30 minutes for your computer to delete your cache history.
    • For IE version 7:
      1. Click the Delete... button.
      2. Click Delete Files... under the heading Temporary Internet files.
    • For IE version 6, click Delete Files... under the heading Temporary Internet files.
  5. Click OK to exit.

If clearing your cache doesn't resolve the problem, you may also want to delete your cookies. Please note that while deleting your cookies may resolve the problem, it will also remove your saved settings for sites you've previously visited.

To clear your cookies in Microsoft Internet Explorer:

  1. Select Tools > Internet Options > General again.
  2. Delete your browser's cookies.
    • For IE version 7:
      1. Click the Delete button.
      2. Click Delete cookies... under the heading Cookies.
    • For IE version 6, click Delete Cookies... under the heading Temporary Internet files.
  3. Click OK for the prompt labeled Delete all cookies in the Temporary Internet Files folder?
  4. Click OK to exit.

Instructions for Mozilla Firefox

To clear your cache for Mozilla Firefox:

  1. Open Firefox.
  2. Clear your browser's cache.
    • For Firefox version 2.0:
      1. Click Tools > Options > Advanced.
      2. Click the Network tab.
      3. Click Clear Now under the Cache heading.
    • For Firefox version 1.5 or earlier:
      1. Click Tools > Options > Privacy.
      2. Click Cache > Clear.
  3. Click OK to exit.

If clearing your cache doesn't resolve the problem, you may also want to delete your cookies. Please note that while deleting your cookies may resolve the problem, it will also remove your saved settings for sites you've previously visited.

To clear your cookies for Mozilla Firefox:

  1. Click Tools > Options > Privacy.
  2. Delete your cookies.
    • For Firefox version 2.0, click Clear Now under the Private Data heading.
    • For Firefox version 1.5 or earlier, click Cookies > Clear.
  3. Click OK to exit.

If you need instructions for a browser other than Internet Explorer or Firefox, we suggest consulting your browser's help pages.

If this doesn't resolve the problem, please check further troubleshooting steps.

 

I'm getting an "Invalid email address" error. What's going on?
If you're getting an "Invalid email address" error, you may be accidentally putting an extra space at the beginning or end of the email address field. Please make sure you enter your email address with no extra spaces.

Sometimes this happens if you copy and paste your email address from another location. If you've copied and pasted your email address into this field, please type it in and try again.

 

What are cookies, and how can I enable them?
A "cookie" is a small file containing a string of characters that is sent to your computer when you visit a website. You'll need to have cookies enabled in order to use advanced site features like "My Charities".

To enable cookies in Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0+:
1. Select "Internet Options" from the "Tools" menu.
2. Click on the "Privacy" tab.
3. Click the "Default Level" button (or manually slide the security bar to "Medium").
4. Click "OK" to save changes.
To enable cookies in Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5:
1. Select "Internet Options" from the "Tools" menu.
2. Click on the "Security" tab.
3. Click the "Default Level" button (or manually slide the security bar to "Medium").
4. Click "OK" to save changes.
To enable cookies in Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.x (Macintosh):
1. Select "Preferences" from the Explorer menu.
2. In the new Explorer Preferences window, click the "Cookies" option from the left side menu.
3. For the "When Receiving Cookies" drop down menu, select "Never Ask".
4. Click "OK" to save changes.
To enable cookies in Firefox 2.0:
1. Select "Options" from the "Tools" menu.
2. In the new Firefox Options menu, select "Privacy" from the top menu.
3. Click the checkbox next to Accept Cookies.
4. Click "OK" to save changes.
To enable cookies in Firefox 2.0 (Macintosh):
1. Go to the "Firefox" drop down menu.
2. Select "Preferences".
3. Select the "Privacy" icon.
4. Make sure "Accept cookies from sites" is checked.
5. Close the Firefox Preferences window.
To enable cookies in Firefox 1.5:
1. Select "Options" from the "Tools" menu.
2. In the new Firefox Options menu, select "Privacy" from the top menu.
3. Select the "Cookies" tab from the secondary menu.
4. Make sure "Allow sites to set cookies" is checked.
5. Click "OK" to save changes.
To enable cookies in Firefox 1.5 (Macintosh):
1. Go to the "Firefox" drop down menu.
2. Select "Preferences".
3. Select the "Privacy" icon.
4. Under "Cookies", mark the checkbox for "Allow sites to set Cookies".
5. Close the Firefox Preferences window.
To enable cookies in Firefox 1.0:
1. Select "Options" from the "Tools" menu.
2. Select the "Privacy" icon on the left hand side of the dialog box.
3. Select "Keep cookies until they expire".
4. Click "OK" to save changes.
To enable cookies in Firefox 1.0 (Macintosh):
1. Go to the "Firefox" drop down menu.
2. Select "Preferences".
3. Select the "Privacy" icon.
4. Under "Cookies", mark the checkbox for "Allow sites to set Cookies".
5. Close the Firefox Preferences window.
To enable cookies in AOL 9.0:
1. From the AOL Toolbar, select Settings.
2. Select Internet (Web) Options.
3. Select Use your Internet Explorer Settings to set advanced browser options.
4. Select the Privacy tab.
5. Select Advanced.
6. Deselect override automatic cookie handling button.
7. Click "OK" to save changes.
To enable cookies in Safari:
1. Select "Preferences..." from the "Safari" menu.
2. Click on the "Security" tab.
3. Next to "Accept Cookies", click to select the "Always" radio button.
4. Close the Safari Preferences window.

 

I can't sign in. I've already checked that cookies are enabled, I've cleared my cookies, and I'm using a supported browser.
If you have your browser's privacy settings set to "high" you may be unable to access My Charities. To resolve this problem, please add charitynavigator.org to your browser's list of allowed sites. Here are instructions for how to add allowed sites in Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE):

  1. Go to the "Tools" menu and select "Internet Options."
  2. Click on the "Privacy" tab.
  3. Click the "Sites..." button and type www.charitynavigator.org in the "Address of Web site" section.
  4. Click "Allow."
  5. Click "OK."

If you're accessing Charity Navigator from behind a firewall, proxy, or anti-virus program, temporarily disable the program and try logging in. If disabling this program resolves the problem, we suggest consulting the program's online support center for assistance on how to configure it in a way that will still allow you to access My Charities.

Note that if you're using a work computer, the problem may be related to your computer's corporate security settings. We suggest asking your system administrator.

If you continue to have problems logging in, please contact us using this form.

 


Questions about advertising

 

Why are there ads on Charity Navigator’s website?
Charity Navigator, a nonprofit itself, provides its services to the public and to the charities we rate for free. We generate the revenue we need to maintain our operations from a variety of sources including individual donors, foundations and advertising. So, the ads you see help ensure we can keep our site 100% free.

 

What guidelines do you follow for advertisements on Charity Navigator?
Advertisements appearing on our site and blogs are provided via third party ad networks such as Google AdSense, AdMedia and others. We have given our ad partners strict guidelines, which we continue to refine over time, to follow such as no intrusive ads (such as those that take over a page without the user clicking) and no sexually explicit ads.

Most importantly, we have banned all paid advertisements from charities. That is because Charity Navigator has a policy of not taking money from any of the charities that we rate - even as indirectly as advertisement revenue from a third party.

 

You don't allow charity ads, but I saw one on your site.
All of the ad networks that we've investigated do not have the ability to automatically block charity ads (since most publishers welcome such ads as a way to be socially conscious). As such, we have asked every charity that we rate to ensure that their paid ads do not appear on our site. Even with these measures in place, a charity's ad may, on occasion, display on our site. When we become aware of such ads, we immediately work with our ad providers to put a block on that specific ad. And it is important to note that nearly all such occurrences are for nonpaid ads that the charities have been able to run via the AdCouncil or another pro bono affiliation.

 

Does Charity Navigator endorse the products and services that are advertised on its site
The presence of an ad on our site or in one of our newsletters does not imply endorsement of the advertised company or product

 

I am not a charity and I would like to run ad on your site or in your monthly email newsletter. How does that work?
Please send an email to sales@charitynavigator.org and we'll send you the relevant information.

 


Questions about DAF DirectSM

 

What is DAF DirectSM?
DAF DirectSM enables donor advised fund account holders to recommend grants directly from the websites of some of their favorite charities as well as from the Charity Navigator website.

 

Who can log in to and use DAF Direct?

You must have a donor advised fund with a participating sponsoring organization (and select that organization from the drop-down) in order to recommend a grant via DAF Direct.

 

What is a Donor Advised Fund?

A donor advised fund (DAF) is a type of giving program that allows you to combine favorable tax benefits with the flexibility to easily support your favorite charities. An increasingly popular charitable vehicle, DAFs are an excellent way to both simplify your charitable giving and facilitate your strategic philanthropic goals.

 

How do I set up a donor advised fund if I wish to use DAF Direct?

To set up a donor advised fund, please contact a participating sponsoring organization. To set up a donor advised fund with Fidelity Charitable, go to FidelityCharitable.org and click on "Set Up a Giving Account" on the top right corner of the page, or call at 800-952-4438.

 

Whom do I contact for customer support when using DAF Direct?

If you require support completing your grant recommendation, please contact the sponsoring organization (e.g. Fidelity Charitable). If you have technical difficulties with DAF Direct functionality, please email dafdirect@fmr.com.

 

Is there a fee for either the donor or the nonprofit associated with DAF Direct?

No, at this time there is not a fee for donors or nonprofits to use DAF Direct.

However, all DAF sponsors have fees for their DAF program. To learn more, please check with your sponsoring organization.

 

Will a grant get to the charity faster when using DAF Direct?

Participating organizations have made efforts to streamline the grantmaking process. Each grant recommendation is still dependent upon the approval of the sponsoring organization and generally takes between two and ten business days to process.

 

Can I use DAF Direct to support a specific event at a pilot nonprofit?

Yes, but you cannot use funds from your donor advised fund to purchase tickets or receive any more than incidental benefits.

 


Questions about Facebook Comments

 

What is Facebook Comments?

Facebook Comments is a tool that enables users to comment on the charities found on Charity Navigator's site.

 

Why did Charity Navigator implement Facebook Comments?

We wanted to give our users a forum for sharing their personal experiences with specific charities. These experiences can range from a donor who is frustrated at receiving too many donation requests to a satisfied recipient of a charity's services. Such feedback can help potential donors make a more informed decision about the charity they are considering supporting. The comments also provide important feedback for charities to better understand what they do well and what they might not do so well.

We have implemented Facebook's tool for two main reasons:

  1. Since Facebook accounts are based on real names, it prevents people from hiding behind anonymity thereby reducing the amount of inappropriate comments.
  2. Users can choose to share their comments on their Facebook wall thereby promoting Charity Navigator's content to Facebook's huge user base. This enables us to help more donors make informed giving choices.

 

How can I post a comment about a charity?

If you want to post a comment about a specific charity, simply click on the Comments tab on the charity's ratings page, sign into your Facebook account and leave your comment.

If you are not already logged in to Facebook or you don't have a Facebook account, then you can use the 'comment using' drop down menu to post via your Yahoo, AOL or Hotmail account.

 

Do I have to have a Facebook account to leave a comment on a charity’s page?

If you have a Facebook account, then it is easy to leave comments. Your name as it appears on Facebook will be displayed with your comment.

If you are not already logged in to Facebook or you don't have a Facebook account, then you can use the 'comment using' drop down menu to post via your Yahoo, AOL or Hotmail account.   

 

Will the comments I post here appear on my Facebook wall?

Yes, that's an option, but it isn't required.

To ensure your comment appears in your Facebook friends' News Feed, simply leave the "Post to Facebook" box checked when posting a comment about a charity. Your Facebook friends can then like your comment and/or join the discussion.

 

Do the comments impact a charity's rating?

The content found on the Comments tab, powered by Facebook, does not impact any charity's rating.

 

What is your commenting policy?

This tool is intended for our users to participate in thoughtful and intelligent discussion and we welcome a variety of opinions. We ask that you only post comments that are germane to the charity whose page you are posting on and that you use language that steers clear of personal attacks and vulgarities. We reserve the right to remove any comments that are identified as inappropriate. Examples of these types of infractions are comments that include:

  • Abusive, off-topic or foul language;
  • Intentionally false or misleading information;
  • Information that infringes intellectual property rights;
  • Racist, sexist, homophobic or other offensive terminology;
  • Solicitations and/or advertising spam;
  • Attacks that celebrate the death, injury or illness of any person.

To report spam or abuse, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Any decisions as to whether a comment violates any of our posting guidelines will be made by Charity Navigator in its sole discretion and after we have actual notice of such posting.

 

How can I delete a comment I posted?

You can delete your own facebook comment on our site by simply clicking on the pencil icon in the upper right-hand corner of the comment and selecting 'delete.'

 

 
 
   
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