February 2, 2010
January of 2010 was a watershed month for Charity Navigator. We were turned to by more people than at any time in our history to determine which charities to support in the effort to help the people of Haiti in the worst natural disaster they have ever experienced. It was a very humbling experience to realize that in one week we had over 500,000 visitors to our site. We normally only see that kind of activity during the holiday season and even then, it is in a month’s time, not a week. It also was a watershed in that for the first time we used a rudimentary prototype of a three dimensional approach to rating charities, to develop a list of ten organizations to highlight that are working in Haiti. We also had more media outlets coming to us to provide advice to the public on how to give wisely (for a look at some of the media coverage click here, here, here, here and here). The bottom line is this, once again the American public has proven itself to be the most generous in the world and once again we saw affirmation that the interest in getting objective data to help select a charity is on the rise.
I am also happy to report that our Advisory Panel is currently reviewing our prototype for adding an Accountability dimension to our rating system. We continue to believe we will meet our target of finalizing this new dimension of our system by the Spring of this year. We will then move on to submit a prototype for modifications to our financial dimension and thereafter, the new outcomes dimension.
Later in February, we have been invited to Washington once again, this time to meet with representatives of the White House Office of Public Engagement. The interest in developing standards for measuring charity effectiveness and capacity is clearly in evidence from what we have discussed with the officials so far. I also have been invited to participate as a panelist for an NTEN Teleconference Event, The Overhead Question: The Future of Nonprofit Assessment and Reporting – click here for details.
Finally, thanks to all of you who contributed to Charity Navigator during the holiday season and thus far during the Haiti relief effort. Your support has greatly encouraged us and provided us with critical resources to continue to expand our ability to measure what matters to find the best charities for you to support.
All the best,Ken Berger