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Charity Navigator Offers Tips to Help Ensure Holiday Contributions Are Well-Spent 

Glen Rock, N.J. (November 19, 2012)- According to a recent study by Charity Navigator, the nation's largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities, the majority of donors who gave to charities last year-end, plan to give at the same level or more this year-end.  This is welcome news for charities that rely on year-end generosity for roughly 40% (or even more) of their annual donations. But all this generosity will do little good if donors do not take the time to seek out high-performing charities.

To help donors take a closer look at the charities seeking their support this holiday season, Charity Navigator offers the following tips:

  • Ensure the charity is efficient, ethical and effective: Before you give to any charity this holiday season, be sure to check that the charity meets these three criteria.
  1. Fiscal Health: Financially healthy organizations – those that are both financially efficient and sustainable - have greater flexibility and freedom to pursue their charitable mission.  Charity Navigator’s 0 to 4- star rating system includes a review of each charity’s fiscal performance.
  2. Accountable & Transparent: Generally speaking, charities that follow good governance practices are less likely to engage in unethical or irresponsible activities so, the risk that charities would misuse donations is lower than for charities that don't adopt such practices.  Donors can access a review of each charity’s Accountability & Transparency via Charity Navigator’s free website.
  3.  Results: Knowing what the charity has accomplished is a critical step; after all, the charity’s ability to bring about long lasting and meaningful change in the world is the key reason for their existence and what you want your donation to be used for.  Charity Navigator will begin to provide a review of each charity’s results reporting within the coming year.  In the meantime, you can learn about a charity’s results by reviewing its website and/or talking with staff.  They should be able to tell you more than just the number of activities or people served and speak to the quality and depth of their results (for example, not just whether someone got a job but for how long) as well as their capacity to continue to get these results.
     
  • Hang up the phone: Now that the election is over, you can count on telemarketers seeking more business from charities, which means more phone calls soliciting your support.  Avoid them and their generally high fundraising costs.
     
  • Give without strings attached: Donors like to designate their contributions for specific projects and purposes. While this is ideal for disaster giving (such as with Superstorm Sandy), don’t be the roadblock in your favorite charity’s quest to do good work. Take the time to research your charity so that you can trust them.  Then give an unrestricted gift so the charity has the flexibility to respond to changing demands for its services - even if that means your gift may pay to keep the lights on.
     
  • Find the perfect fit: Don’t settle for organizations that aren’t an exact match for your philanthropic goals.  No matter what you want to support there’s a charity out there that matches your intentions. You just need to take the time to find it and confirm (not just assume) it offers the programs and services that match your charitable interests.
     
  • Don’t forget ‘non-Sandy’ charities: In recent months, a significant amount of charitable donations went to Hurricane Sandy relief organizations.  History has shown that giving doesn’t change much from year to year.  As a result, much of the contributions that non-disaster aid charities were depending on have been diverted to relief charities.  This holiday season consider supporting these groups so that they are not forced to cut programs and services.
     

“Millions of Americans gave generously to help victims of Superstorm Sandy,” said Ken Berger, President & CEO of Charity Navigator.  “As a result, local nonprofits --- such as battered women's shelters, after-school programs, and animal shelters --- are predicting a shortfall in contributions this holiday season making it especially critical that donors do their homework and support efficient, ethical and effective charities providing services in their community.”

Charity Navigator is best known for its ratings, accessible at no charge at www.charitynavigator.org, of the Financial Health and Accountability & Transparency of 6,000 of America’s best-known charities. Charity Navigator’s website offers complementary tools to help donors make informed choices about where their contributions will be used most effectively this holiday season. Visit the guide at: www.charitynavigator.org/holiday.

 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 6,000 charities. 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.

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

 

 
 
   
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