For almost twenty years, nonprofits and donors have recognized the Star Rating System as the preeminent resource for nonprofit evaluations and ratings of a nonprofit’s financial health, accountability, and transparency. Two years ago, Charity Navigator introduced the Encompass Rating System. Encompass was different from the Star Rating System because it allowed nonprofits to present a more comprehensive view of their organization beyond their finances. Although financial health remains housed within the Accountability & Finance beacon, three additional areas, or ‘beacons,’ offered insights: Impact & Results, Leadership & Adaptability, and Culture & Community. For the past two years, both rating systems lived side-by-side and expanded to provide information for almost 200,000 nonprofits.
Rating Systems Unification
On November 2, 2022, the Star and Encompass rating systems will be unified, creating a singular rating system. This merger is a significant milestone for Charity Navigator in our 20th year as we continue our work to provide insights for donors to make more informed decisions about their giving. Nonprofits previously under the legacy Star Rating System will present a more holistic view of their organization beyond their finances under the new rating system One unified rating provides organizations with an equal footing. Donors will have a single rating system that includes more relevant information to make more informed giving decisions.
To complement the new rating system and further our mission of making impactful giving easier for all, Charity Navigator is making significant changes to the website user experience. There will be an enhanced infrastructure and a much more robust search functionality allowing for more powerful filtering enabling results that align with the causes and charities they care most about. Together, these changes represent the vast undertaking that Charity Navigator committed to as a celebration of twenty years of nonprofit rating excellence and part of the plan to ensure that our ratings provide donors with the information they need to give with confidence in the years to come.
How Nonprofits Can Participate
In addition to e-filing Form 990 tax returns, nonprofits should submit data to earn Impact & Results, Culture & Community, and Leadership & Adaptability beacons:
Charity Navigator Nonprofit Portal
Candid (by GuideStar) - a data partner in this effort
Separately, if a nonprofit believes their financial rating would be adversely affected as a result of the pandemic with a recently-filed Form 990 (FYE 3/2020 or after), they should complete the COVID-19 Pandemic Response survey via the Nonprofit Portal.