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Charity Navigator Blog Ken's Commentary

Please browse through our collection of articles, written by industry experts, inside and out of Charity Navigator. If you would like to see a collection of articles written about Charity Navigator, please visit our Press Room.

Charity Navigator Articles

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
August 19, 2014 -- Before you donate to the #ALSIceBucketChallenge, make sure you find an ALS charity that Charity Navigator rates highly.

Results Reporting - Timeline for Implementation
May 12, 2014 -- We launched the Results Reporting methodology in January 2013 and then began collecting the data for charities in the cause areas

Webinar Recording: An Introduction to Results Reporting
April 28, 2014 -- On April 28th, Charity Navigator held a webinar to introduce our new rating dimension.

Ten Year Partnership Results in nearly 200 Additional Charity Ratings
February 1, 2014 -- Individual donors and grantmaking organizations can find trusted analytical information on many of the South's best-known charities serving the

A New Level of Donor Alert -The CN Watchlist
February 1, 2014 -- Charity Navigator launched in 2002, with a rating system that graded charities on a 0 to 4-star rating. By 2010, we were seeing enough serious transgressions by charities that

Today's Featured Charities
December 5, 2013 -- Today's Featured Charities

API Partner Spotlight : Truist
December 1, 2013 -- Charity Navigator is pleased to announce our data sharing partnership with Truist, the leading provider of corporate social responsibility and philanthropy services.

Midwest Tornadoes
November 18, 2013 -- Late season tornadoes and strong storms wreak havoc in 12 states. Read our tips before you donate to the relief and recovery efforts.

Super Typhoon Haiyan Disaster Relief
November 8, 2013 -- See which charities are providing relief to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

Superstorm Sandy: A Year Later
October 29, 2013 -- Hurricane Sandy hit the U.S. on October 29 2012, leaving millions without power, at least 100 dead and a tremendous amount of property damage. Learn which charities participated in the relief and recovery efforts.

#GivingTuesday: A Day of Giving Back
October 24, 2013 -- GivingTuesday is a simple idea. All you need to do is find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to join in acts of giving. Then tell everyone you can about what you are doing and why it matters.

Tropical Cyclone Phailin Disaster Relief
October 14, 2013 -- Cyclone Phailin struck the eastern coast of India on October 12, 2013 making landfall as the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane. The storm brought winds as high as

How To Help Washington Navy Yard Shooting Victims And Their Families
September 20, 2013 -- These organizations are raising money to support those affected by the Navy Yard shooting.

Colorado Floods: How To Help
September 16, 2013 -- Flooding in Colorado has left thousands of residents stranded or missing and has destroyed a significant number of homes and businesses. See which charities are responding.

Massive 'Rim' Wildfire in California
August 28, 2013 -- A massive wildfire in northeastern California threatens Yosemite National Park and has become one of the largest fires in the state's history.

Oklahoma Tornado Relief
May 20, 2013 -- Find out which charities are responding to the devastation caused by a massive tornado in Moore, Oklahoma.

West,Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion
April 19, 2013 -- A fertilizer plan exploded on April 17, 2013, in West, Texas, causing tremendous destruction, injuries and fatalities. Find out how you can help.

Boston Marathon Bombing - How to Help
April 18, 2013 -- There are several movements afoot to collect funds in relation to the Boston Marathon Bombing.

Charity Navigator Now Provides Basic Information for all 1.4 Million U.S. Registered Nonprofits
April 1, 2013 -- Charity Navigator's website has expanded to include all 1.4 million nonprofits that have registered with the Internal Revenue Service.

Reduce Your Tax Bill
March 1, 2013 -- People give to charity for many heartfelt, altruistic reasons. But as evident by the surge in online gifts flowing through our site on December 31st,

Introducing Results Reporting: The Third Dimension of Intelligent Giving
January 23, 2013 -- Charity Navigator announces the launch of CN 3.0 - an effective tool for measuring Results Reporting.

What to Do When Disaster Strikes
January 1, 2013 -- Americans are generous and eager to help their neighbors in a crisis - whether those neighbors are next door, across the country, or on the opposite side of the...

Newtown, CT School Shooting
December 17, 2012 -- Find out what charities you can support after the terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Charity Navigator and Groupon Grassroots? What a Deal!!
December 5, 2012 -- Groupon Grassroots Fans Help Us Rate More Charities

Year-End Giving Trends: 2012 Poll Results
November 16, 2012 -- We recently invited donors and charities to take part in a poll about their year-end giving plan and expectations for 2012. 175 donors and 40 charities completed our survey.

Hurricane Sandy
October 30, 2012 -- Hurricane Sandy hit the U.S. on October 29 2012, leaving millions without power, at least 100 dead and a tremendous amount of property damage. Learn which charities are assisting with the relief and recovery efforts and read our tips before you contribute, so you can be assured your donation does the most good.

Conversation with Breast Cancer Charities: The Ins and Outs of Cause-Related Marketing
October 2, 2012 -- Find out how charities decide which products/ firms are a good fit for a cause-related marketing campaign and see what they say is the biggest misconception donors/ customers have about cause-related marketing.

Hurricane Katrina
August 27, 2012 -- On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made its second landfall as a Category 3 hurricane near New Orleans. A year later, in August 2006, Charity Navigator took a look at the charitable response to this, the costliest natural disaster and one of the deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States.

Watch Our Webinar: Top 10 Things You Need To Know About Charity Navigator
April 20, 2012 -- Whether you are new to Charity Navigator or you’ve been a user of our site since we launched on April 15, 2002, this webinar recording will teach you something

Billions of Dollars Donated by Millions of Users
April 4, 2012 -- Charity Navigator is estimated to be influencing billions of dollars (between 5 and 10 billion at last count) of charitable gifts each year provided by over 3 million unique

Invisible Children: The Charity Behind KONY 2012
March 14, 2012 -- In March 2012, the charity, Invisible Children, released a video called Kony 2012. The video became an Internet sensation with 75 million views on YouTube in just a few days. But the video's tremendous popularity brought the charity a mixed bag of praise and scrutiny.

4-Star Rating Promoted in Wall Street Journal Prompts Donor to Fine-Tune Charitable Contributions
March 1, 2012 -- Marcia W., a lifelong donor who resides in Sarasota, FL, said she “got serious” about responsible giving in the late 1990s, when she retired from a long career as

Charity Navigator's Webinar
December 6, 2011 -- On December 1, Charity Navigator held it s very first webinar. Hosted by our President & CEO, Ken Berger, the webinar focused on how you can ensure your charitable

Year-End Giving Trends
November 1, 2011 -- We recently invited donors and charities to take part in a survey about year-end giving trends for 2011. Via this survey, we also sought to gain a better understanding

Managing to Outcomes
August 1, 2011 -- This past June, Charity Navigator and the NYU Wagner Research Center for Leadership in Action, with funding from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Liquidnet, co-hosted a Forum.

Foreword To The Nonprofit Outcomes Toolbox
May 1, 2011 -- The Nonprofit Outcomes Toolbox could not have come out at a better time. We are at the beginning of a tipping point in the nonprofit sector in the U.S. and the

Haiti Earthquake: 1 Year Later
January 7, 2011 -- This special report, released on the one year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti, commemorates the significant outpouring of generosity from donors across America and takes a closer look at how charities put donations to use.

Help Those Hurt by the Economic Slump
November 29, 2010 -- The declining economy is taking a toll on many families who are finding it difficult or impossible to pay their bills and keep food on the table. Find out which charities offer programs to help those facing a financial crisis.

Recession Prompts Changes to Scoring for Certain Types of Charities
November 24, 2010 -- From the start, Charity Navigator’s methodology was designed to be both objective and fair. As such, when the data has dictated, we have established different performance benchmarks for the different

Charity Navigator Expands Rating Methodology
July 1, 2010 -- A major step forward in our efforts to revamp our rating system occurred on July 1st. We went live with the Accountability and Transparency methodology,

Predictions Past (2009) and Future (2010)
April 1, 2010 -- As we arrive at the 8th anniversary of the launch of our web site on April 15 2002, it is time once again to have a look at the past year and look forward to the year(s) to come.

Help Survivors of the Earthquake in Haiti
January 13, 2010 -- On January 12th a 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti's capital, Port-Au-Prince and caused massive devastation to the city. The death toll is expected to be well in the thousands and a

How CFC Charities Stack Up
October 1, 2009 -- The government's charity drive, know as the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), encourages federal civilian employees, members of the military, and U.S. Postal Service to pledge their financial support to charity.

Nonprofit CEOs Recognize Peers' Achievements
October 1, 2009 -- At Charity Navigator, it is our goal to advance a more efficient philanthropic marketplace, in which givers and the charities they support work in tandem to overcome our nation's...

The Past and The Future
April 1, 2009 -- On the anniversary of the launching of our web site, it has been a tradition for us to either reflect back on the past year or forward on the year(s) to come. This year, I will do both.

State Charity Reports: How Much Donor Money is Wasted in Your State?
March 1, 2009 -- Find out which state attorneys general are tracking how much professional fundraisers keep for themselves and what percentage of your donation actually reaches the charity to which it is intended.

Charity Navigator's Year-End Giving Survey
December 17, 2008 -- We recently invited all of the 5,300 charities on our site to take part in a survey about the importance of year-end giving.

Roundtable: Charity Leaders Discuss the Economy, the Importance of Year-End Giving and Fundraising Strategies
November 1, 2008 -- Charity Navigator asked various nonprofit professionals charged with the task of generating contributions for their respective charities to answer some questions about their fundraising practices.

Charity Quiz
September 24, 2008 -- As the new school year gets underway, the first item on every teacher’s agenda is to determine what knowledge her students have retained over the summer. This inspired us to

Roundtable Discussion: Charity Leaders Speak Out About CEO Compensation, Special Events and the Economy's Impact on Giving
July 1, 2008 -- Read on to find out what charity leaders had to say about CEO compensation, special events, the new Form 990 and how the economy and presidential campaign are impacting contributions.

Milestones in Philanthropy
April 1, 2008 -- The following timeline recounts some of the pivotal moments in the development of America's philanthropic sector.

A Nation of Givers
March 31, 2008 -- Americans are remarkably charitable. But what sorts of people give the most? And how do we compare with the Europeans?

CFC Contributors Beware
October 3, 2007 -- For many efficient and effective charities, the Combined Federal Campaign is a critical source of funding. It is important that federal employees give generously, but it is equally important that they take the time to research the charities they are considering supporting.

Charities Building Roadblocks to Human Trafficking
August 1, 2007 -- Human trafficking has been called the modern day slavery. Find out which highly-rated charities are endeavoring to put an end to this horrific and complex problem.

Charity Navigator Supports Proposed Changes to the Form 990
July 1, 2007 -- We commend the Internal Revenue Service on the landmark redesign draft of the Form 990, which properly offers charitable donors a wealth of new information on the financial, operational and governing practices of public charities.

Five Charity Myths Dispelled
July 1, 2007 -- As part of our mission to provide donors with the information to make intelligent giving decisions, we shatter some commonly-held myths about charitable giving.

Roundtable Discussion: Small Charities Speak Out
July 1, 2007 -- Charity Navigator organized a roundtable discussion among the leaders of several smaller charities to give them the opportunity to share their unique point of view.

The Next Five
April 2, 2007 -- On this fifth anniversary of Charity Navigator, it seems obvious that the non-profit world has changed dramatically in those five years since we launched our service and our website.

Five Great Ways To Teach Your Child About Philanthropy
February 1, 2007 -- It is never too early to instill philanthropy in a child; yet, teaching them that it is better to give than to receive can be a difficult task.

The Hottest Hot Topic: Global Warming
July 1, 2006 -- Whether you want to support the work of charities that strive to discover clean and sustainable energy sources, those that aim to curb deforestation, those that struggle to change policy, or those that protect animals endangered by climate change, check out this list of highly-rated charities tackling the issues of climate change.

What's Wrong With Charities in America?
April 5, 2006 -- On the celebration of Charity Navigator's 4th anniversary, Trent Stamp has 10 questions for America's best-known charities.

Charity Navigator: Operation 5000
December 7, 2005 -- In the spring of 2002, we launched our website with data-driven ratings of 1,115 of America's largest charities. Today we offer 5,000 charity evaluations...

Supporting America's Heroes- How to Select a Police, Firefighters or Veterans Charity
November 10, 2005 -- The brave response by police and firefighters to the tragic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 reminded Americans of the invaluable service these courageous men and women provide to our communities.

Government Funding for Charities: When it declines, the charities lose twice
May 1, 2005 -- We all know that charities receive their funding from multiple sources. The majority of contributions come from individuals; foundations and corporations also give significant amounts to nonprofits each year. What most of us don't realize is that another considerable source are taxpayer dollars, or government funding. While overall it represents a small percentage of a charity's contributed income, government funding is a generally reliable source that is typically renewed each year, or even increased. However, in recent years this funding has become less and less predictable.

Swing and a Miss: Charities, like Baseball, Strike Out
April 1, 2005 -- In light of recent news, I am struck by the similarities between Major League Baseball and America's nonprofit sector. In the mainstream public consciousness, the two could obviously not be more different. One, despite being merely a game, dominates the front page of America's newspapers. The other, even though it is not only a cornerstone of the American economy but a provider of services that often make the difference between life and death, is relegated to the trade journals.

Hunting for Cause Related Marketing's Charitable Impact
June 1, 2004 -- Pink breast cancer ribbons appear on just about everything these days--from kitchen appliances, to shoes, to makeup, to candy. Affinity credit cards declare our personal charitable interests by allowing consumers to direct a percentage of their purchases to charity. And some charities' identities, like the Ronald McDonald House, are synonymous with the firms that support their endeavors. All of these represent examples of cause-related marketing. Simply put--it is a partnership in which a charity and for-profit organization work together to promote a product or service for mutual benefit.

Two Years of Navigating Charities
April 1, 2004 -- This month, we celebrate our second anniversary by evaluating our 3,000th charity, and we have much of which to be proud. We feel that donors are better off than they were before we were created, and that the philanthropic marketplace has been advanced. In the year ahead, we know we have a ton of work to do, as Charity Navigator is far from a finished product. We hope to add individual charity input, user feedback from those served by the charities, and some programmatic measurements. But before we move on to those tasks, it seemed like a good time to reflect on what we have learned so far.

Not All Charities Are Equal...
February 2, 2004 -- Since Charity Navigator was founded in April of 2001, our analysts have reviewed over 16,000 financial documents of America's non-profit organizations. The information we've extrapolated from those documents is used to generate the nearly 3,000 unbiased charity evaluations available for free on our web site.

Charity Navigator Influences Half A Billion Dollars In Giving
January 1, 2004 -- In the past 12 months, a large segment of America's charitable donors have utilized Charity Navigator's financial evaluations to guide their giving. It is generally believed that users of www.charitynavigator.org contributed half a billion dollars to charity.

When It Comes To Support From The General Public, Many Arts Charities Under-Perform
August 4, 2003 -- After a decade of prosperity and relatively effortless fundraising, arts-related charities are faced with a new fundraising reality, and because of their unique funding strategies, have been hit harder than most charities.

Time for Charities to Face the Facts: Efficiency Matters
June 1, 2003 -- If America's charities are left to their own devices, they will not find ways to operate more efficiently. Why not? Because leaders of America's charities and foundations don't believe efficiency matters. And as a result, we all lose.

Charity Navigator After Year One
April 15, 2003 -- We launched our non-profit organization, Charity Navigator one year ago, on April 15, 2002. At the time, our intentions were very simple. We wanted to introduce unbiased data-analysis and evaluation to the charitable sector. We recognized that billions of dollars were flowing through charities, and that in our opinion, most of it was despite the kind of data-driven, consumer-focused ratings that are pervasive in every other sector of the American economy. So, in the interest of consumer advocacy, with a secondary goal of promoting transparency and accountability in a sector that desperately needed it to restore consumer confidence amid much cynicism and skepticism, we unveiled Charity Navigator for America's charitable givers.

Charities, Donors, and the First Amendment
March 22, 2003 -- An upcoming Supreme Court case is the talk of the town among charities, their fundraisers, and the regulators and watchdogs responsible for monitoring their activity. The talk, mostly among insiders, is polite and the problem debated all-too-familiar. What do we do about charities that spend "too much" of our money on fundraising?

Why Does Our Government Ignore Charities?
October 14, 2002 -- Our government, from the White House to the State Houses, has not done an effective job of regulating America's charities. And this is a recipe for a disaster.

Evaluating Charities: Why the Numbers Count
April 15, 2002 -- Americans use numbers and data to make decisions in every aspect of their lives. As investors, shoppers, diners, and travelers, we access scores, ratings and polls to decide where we live, what we buy, what we eat, and where we travel. In evaluating charities, the numbers count just as much. We should use financial analysis to evaluate charities. Doing so will show us which charities to support, will teach us more about how charities work, will help charities find ways to improve, and will help us become better givers.

   
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