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    Photo - left to right: Marie Wieck, Chair of the Board; Michael Thatcher, President & CEO, Pat and Marion Duggan, Founders, Charity Navigator

    2022: A Celebration of 20 Years

    A message from Michael Thatcher, President & CEO, Charity Navigator

    Photo - left to right: Marie Wieck, Chair of the Board; Michael Thatcher, President & CEO, Pat and Marion Duggan, Founders, Charity Navigator

    Looking back over last year, I am filled with gratitude to the growing number of people, all of you, who use Charity Navigator’s ratings, tools, and information to increase the impact of their giving.  I am equally grateful to those of you who support us through your generosity and investments in our work. Thank you!  


    2022 was an incredible year with some significant challenges and wonderful opportunities. Our big goal for last year was to complete the unification of our ratings and launch a new website with a refresh of the Charity Navigator brand. We chose to do this without disrupting any of the services we provide and brought this all to light in early November. Some quick performance stats below show that not only did we transform our entire platform this past year, but we also did it with increased traffic and usage in all areas:


    Website traffic: Site Visitors

    17% increase: 11.6 million (2022) vs. 9.8 million (2021)


    Top 10 Causes in 2022

    1. Development and Relief Services

    2. Humanitarian Relief Supplies

    3. Multipurpose Human Services Organizations

    4. Social Services

    5. Advocacy and Education

    6. Environmental Protection and Conservation

    7. Food banks, Food Pantries, and Food Distribution

    8. International Peace, Security, and Affairs

    9. Animal Rights, Welfare, and Services

    10. Social and Public Policy Research


    Net Promoter Score: 86


    Giving Basket 

    Overall dollars 2022 vs. 2021
    2022 $44+ million vs. 2021 $38+ million; Up 16%


    Number of users of the Giving Basket
    2022: 72,000+ vs. 2021: 53,000+; Up 36%


    Average donor gift
    2022: $119 vs. 2021: $112; Up 6%


    Charities benefitted: 2022: 29,000+ vs. 2021: 26,000+; Up 9%

    As an organization who strives to be relevant, current and useful to our 11+ million users, there was a lot to keep up with last year.  The Ukraine relief effort, which lept into place following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, stimulated over 41,000 donations to the 47 highly rated charities from our Where To Give Now list, and deployed about $5.5 million dollars to this effort. The Roe vs. Wade reversal in the US Supreme Court in June also led to increased giving. Charity Navigator’s curated list of 45 nonprofits, focused on both sides of the issue, saw about 3,000 donations and almost $300,000 reach this issue. These are two examples of many situations we responded to over the last year. Sadly there were several mass shootings, and significant climate-related disasters in our country and abroad, and in each case, we were there to help you find the highly rated organizations addressing the issues at hand. On a more positive note, the decline in COVID-19 infections led to significantly less traffic and giving to pandemic relief, as the need had subsided. 

    Ukrainian woman holding child

    Building the new site and ratings was exciting! Everyone stepped up to these challenges and pursued the opportunities as they came. Together we worked through the methodology changes, the brand refresh, and the site rebuild. We even implemented a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, and created a new Customer Success Team to help donors and nonprofits adapt to the changes while providing us with continuous feedback on how to improve. Finally, as the year drew to a close, in early December, we hosted an incredibly special hybrid event while we were at it (if you missed our Let’s Celebrate Giving, Our 20th Anniversary Celebration - check out the video here). The team leaned into our values and strengthened our commitment to our mission. 


    I have relied on Charity Navigator for years in determining whether to donate to specific charities, as well as looking for worthwhile charities working for causes of interest to me...You have made our ability to assess and retain information for our charitable giving, which we do year-round, so much easier. Thank you, thank you!


    November’s launch was a success and was also quickly followed by some challenges, which slowed us down a bit for GivingTuesday, but again we worked through it, stabilized, bolstered our systems, and successfully closed the year serving millions of donors in their end-of-year giving. There’s a great deal to explore and discover in the new site, but for me, the coolest thing we did was transform the search into a much more powerful and intuitive feature that allows one to search on category and cause, filter results on the same as well as rating values, number of beacons populated, geographic region and more.


    Here’s a quick example for you: I’m interested in ensuring that people in Springfield, Missouri who need food can get it and I want to support a highly rated food bank providing food aid. I also want to limit the results to 3 and 4-Star charities and ensure that all elements of the rating (beacons) have been scored.


    If you look at the image below - you can see that through the filters I have set, I have reduced the options to two charities. From here, I’d click on their profile and make a choice about which one to support. As I am interested in Springfield specifically, my research is done and I complete the process by clicking on the Donate button, to proceed to Charity Navigator’s Giving Basket and complete the transaction.

    screenshot of search page

    If I wished to take this several steps further to make an even greater impact, I could search for the same nonprofits on our volunteering site powered by Golden, our partner in this effort. With a Golden account, I’d be able see what in-person or virtual volunteer opportunities were available. Another option could be to find and join a Giving Circle aligned with combating food insecurity. Thanks to our partnership with Grapevine and Philanthropy Together, donors have access to over 2,500 giving circles making a difference in the world across a variety of causes. 


    We will keep refining and improving features like this so that you really can find an impactful organization that is focused on the things you care about most. 


    As we ease into 2023, we’re taking a moment to pause and look back at our successes and failures of the last year. I hope you agree with me that there has been tremendous progress and improvement at Charity Navigator. And there is so much more to do. Our focus for the year to come will center on continued execution against our strategic plan and smoothing out some rough edges in the work we’ve just completed. We’ll find ways to make it easier and more effective for nonprofits to provide ratings information to us and others in the sector, so more nonprofits have a higher number of beacons evaluated for their rating. We are pushing forward to continuously improve the quality and quantity of our ratings, transform the user experience and make impactful giving easier for everyone.  Thank you for being a part of the journey with us.



    Published January 2023