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Celebrating 10 Years of Rating Charities


May 2012

Dear Friends of Charity Navigator,

Charity Navigator just turned 10 and we want you to join us in celebrating this milestone by looking back at what we’ve accomplished with your help and encouragement, and looking forward with a BIG birthday wish—to virtually double to 10,000 the number of charities we rate by 2016. 

It’s been an amazing ride since the site launched on April 15, 2002, with ratings of 1,100 charities and 161,000 visits that first year.  Half of our staff has been here since the beginning and they tell some hair raising stories about the difficulty obtaining the form 990’s (the informational report that charities must file each year with the IRS and which provides the data on which our financial ratings are based) from reluctant charities—the standard reaction was “why would we want to let you rate us?!”  Fortunately, securing 990 data has become much easier and we now receive them directly from the IRS.  In the 10 years since then, Charity Navigator has expanded greatly—we grew the number of charities we rate to 5,500 (to whom roughly 50% of all non-house of worship charitable gifts go—almost $100 billion) and site traffic also grew by a whopping 5,600%, reaching a record 4.97 million last year. 

Our capstone achievement came last September 20th with the successful launch of CN 2.0, which now rates charities in 2 dimensions—financials and accountability/transparency.  So many of you have told us we’ve hit a home run and charities have certainly sat up and taken notice—fully 25% of those featured on our site have made positive changes to their accountability reporting and practices in the first six months since its launch.

And now onward (to CN 3.0, which will add a 3rd dimension—results reporting—to our rating system) and upward (to 10,000 charities rated—almost double the 5,500 we currently rate). We estimate that these 10,000 organizations receive roughly 70% of all charitable contributions in the USA given on an annual basis.  We are making the significant commitment to accomplish this goal for several reasons.  The most important one is that you—our users and supporters—want this to happen.  Our #1 priority is always to optimize the user experience through continuous quality improvement, whether through web site enhancements and new features or, now, by expanding the universe of rated charities. 

The bottom line is that we cannot do this without your help.   And so I invite you to please consider giving an anniversary gift today.   Many thanks in advance for your investment in our efforts to guide intelligent giving!

All the best,




Ken Berger, President and CEO

Celebrating 10 Years of Rating Charities

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