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Where Are the Most High-Performing Charities in America?

 
 

Charity Navigator’s 2012 Metro Market Study reveals the regional differences in the performance of the nation’s largest charities

GLEN ROCK, N.J., June 1, 2012 – Not all U.S. cities have equally high performing charities, according to a study by Charity Navigator, America’s largest charity evaluator. The study revealed that large charities in markets such as Portland, Milwaukee and Kansas City have a greater commitment to ethical best practices than those in Detroit, Miami and Atlanta. It is the only comprehensive report on the performance – both Financial Health and Accountability & Transparency – of the 30 largest philanthropic marketplaces in America.

 

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In its study, Charity Navigator compared the median performance and size of the largest nonprofits in the 30 largest metropolitan markets (Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Colorado Springs, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/ St. Paul, Nashville, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Washington, DC).  Those markets account for 56% of the 5,500 charities evaluated by Charity Navigator and they generate 67% of the total revenue and 67% total spending.  The study revealed that regional factors, such as the cost of living, a market’s maturity and a city’s tendency to support one or two specialized causes, greatly influence the ability of the charities in each city to raise money, manage costs as well as their adherence to good governance policies and procedures. 

 

In terms of their overall Financial Health and commitment to Accountability & Transparency, the study’s highest and lowest rated charitable communities are:

                        Highest Rated

Current Ranking

Previous Ranking

1)

Houston

1)

Pittsburgh

2)

Kansas City

2)

Houston

3)

St. Louis

3)

Dallas

4)

Cincinnati

4)

San Francisco

5)

Portland

5)

Kansas City


                        Lowest Rated

 

Current Ranking

Previous Ranking

30)

Orlando

30)

Baltimore

29)

Tampa/St. Petersburg

29)

Detroit

28)

Indianapolis

28)

Indianapolis

27)

Milwaukee

27)

Milwaukee

26)

Miami

26)

Nashville


“I think each of these cities’ nonprofit leaders and donors have something to be proud of,” said Ken Berger, President & CEO of Charity Navigator, “whether it is Houston’s charities solid growth during a challenging economic period, Cincinnati’s charities commitment to protecting its donors’ privacy, or Colorado Springs’ charities admirable level of financial disclosure.  This study revealed that, although there are differences among the various cities, the philanthropic spirit is alive and well throughout America.”

Additional findings from the report include:

  • Market Size: New York City (594 large charities), D.C. (481) and L.A. (194) are more crowded and competitive philanthropic markets than Cincinnati (31), Nashville (32) and, Indianapolis (33) and Orlando (33).
  • CEO Compensation: Charity executives in New York City ($197,792) and Miami ($196,375) earn considerably more than those in Tampa/St. Petersburg ($101,558) and Nashville ($104,914).
  • Program Expenses: Detroit’s charities (86%) devote the largest percentage of their spending to their programs and services while Indianapolis charities spend the least (78%).
  • Annual Growth: Charities in Houston are among the fastest growing, while charities in Orlando and Milwaukee are among the slowest.
  • Level of Contributions: Donors to charities in Miami ($5.58 million), Detroit ($5.41 million) and Denver ($5.22 million) are especially generous as these charities report the highest median contributions in the study. Charities in Orlando ($2.47 million), Tampa/St. Petersburg ($2.48 million) and Portland ($3.26 million) report the lowest median contributions.
  • Wealth: Cleveland’s largest charities are generally richer in assets and working capital than charities in other parts of the country, while charities in Colorado Springs are less financially secure.
  • Accountability & Transparency: Charities in Portland and Milwaukee earn the highest scores for their commitment to being accountable and transparent while charities in Detroit and Miami score the lowest.
  • Financial Health: The largest charities in Nashville and Kansas City earn higher scores for their financial health than those in Indianapolis and Orlando.
  • Donor Privacy Policy: Cincinnati has higher percentages of charities with written donor privacy plans (stating that the charity will not sell, trade or share its donors’ personal information with anyone else, nor send mailings on behalf of other organizations); Pittsburgh (30%) has the lowest percentage of charities with such policies. 
  • Types of Charities: Miami, with 42% of its largest charities classified as Human Services appears to be less diverse in terms of the types of charities represented. Portland is a more diverse marketplace as it contains at least 3%, but no more than 18%, of each type of charity.

 

About Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org)
Charity Navigator is the largest charity evaluator in America and its website attracts more visitors than all other charity rating groups combined. The organization helps guide intelligent giving by evaluating the Financial Health and Accountability & Transparency of 5,500 charities (which receive over half of all charitable donations annually). Charity Navigator accepts no advertising or donations from the organizations it evaluates, ensuring unbiased evaluations, nor does it charge the public for this trusted data. As a result, Charity Navigator, a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization itself, depends on support from individuals, corporations and foundations that believe it provides a much-needed service to America's charitable givers. Charity Navigator, can be reached directly by telephone at (201) 818-1288, or by mail at 139 Harristown Road, Suite 201, Glen Rock, N.J., 07452.

Visit our site, www.charitynavigator.org/metro, for a complete list of results by city.

To schedule an interview contact: 
Sandra Miniutti, Vice President, Charity Navigator
(201) 818-1288 x105, media@charitynavigator.org

 

 
 
   
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