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Important Update!

Dear Friends of Charity Navigator,

I have exciting news to share regarding our plan for the development and implementation of CN 2.0, our enhanced 3-dimensional rating system.  Last month, we co-hosted, along with NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service, a conference on nonprofit performance measurement and management, funded by the Hewlett Foundation and Liquidnet.  This first-time event was attended by over 100 representatives including nonprofit professionals, foundation leaders, government officials and academics working in the field.  The positive energy in the room was palpable as we presented our CN 2.0 case study—a look at the results of the first round testing of the new rating tool.  As a further sign of support, we have also received a $100,000 renewal grant from Hewlett to continue this testing and research effort. Paul Brest, President of the Hewlett Foundation summed it up well when he said during the conference that CN 2.0 “is no small task, but one we believe to be important for the future health and dynamism of the nonprofit sector”.

Completed on time, the Accountability/Transparency data has now been amassed for all 5,500 charities featured on our web site.  This dimension will be factored into the star system (a 2-Dimensional rating system) this summer.  We are currently in the process of determining the relative weighting of this new dimension vis-à-vis the financial dimension.  Once that determination is made, we will send it on to our Advisory Panel, a sample of charities and  other key stakeholders to solicit feedback before it goes live. 

We have also just completed a Strategic Planning process and set specific year by year targets for the third and final dimension of our rating system—results reporting.  As planned, we will begin compiling the results reporting dimension information for charities once preliminary testing of the rating tool is completed, in the Fall of 2012.  As it is gathered, we will display the information on a tab within individual charity rating pages. Also, as we did with the Accountability and Transparency dimension, it will not affect their star rating until early 2015 when we will have data for all 5,500 charities, as illustrated in the chart below.  The orange star symbolizes when we “flip the switch” and the full 3-Dimensional rating system goes live.

The reason it will take some time to get to that point is because this is a major increase in time and analysis for every charity we review. As a result, we will need to recruit hundreds of volunteers (in part to keep our costs down so our service can remain totally free). We will also need to hire additional staff to oversee the volunteers, maintain quality control and to grow our organization’s capacity. However, we know you agree that this is critical to our efforts to begin to determine if a charity is meeting its mission by reporting its results.

Beyond that, and projecting out to 2016, you’ll see we have ambitious plans to then quickly scale up to 10,000 charities—these organizations capture about 70% of the revenues that flow into the sector each year. Further down the road we plan to rate many more charities - our goal is the 20,000 or so that garner 85% of sector revenues.

The vital support of our users has gotten us to this important moment, and having more
of you join that effort is vital to our continued success.  We exist to serve you and are continually inspired by the trust that you place in us.  

Our donor family is the lifeblood of Charity Navigator—please consider becoming part of it!  Click here to make your secure online donation or to access our mailing address if you prefer to donate via check.  Thank you!

All the best,

Ken Berger
President and CEO

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