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President & CEO's Report for August

August 1, 2010

Ken Berger

We are delighted to announce that we have received a grant from The Trustees’ Philanthropy Fund of the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund so that Charity Navigator can conduct a theory of change/strategic planning process. As we are in the midst of the first major revamping of our rating system and hope to also expand the number of charities we rate, this is an opportune time for us to go through such a process. One of our current goals is to be a role model charity that “practices what we preach.” To that end, we intend to become as performance and data driven as possible. A critical step in achieving this goal is to conduct a strategic planning process that gets us from mission to measurable outcomes for our work. We thank the leadership of The Trustees’ Philanthropy Fund of the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund for this critical capacity building grant!

Another reflection of our efforts to “practice what we preach” can be found in the growing amount of information we are providing in the About Us section of our web site. This past year, in making our organization more transparent to all our stakeholders, we made it much easier to access our IRS form 990 and added our current financial audit. In addition, we recently added a new section called “Effectiveness and Results” which discuss our goals, strategies and how we currently measure our annual targets toward reaching our goals.

We are also thrilled to announce that we have recently added new leadership to both our Board of Directors and our Advisory Panel. First, we welcome Richard Nathan and Jeffrey Graubard to our Board. They both bring a wealth of expertise to the Board in areas that are critical to our organizational success. Richard Nathan has a long and distinguished career in providing consulting services on Information Technology. Jeffrey Graubard brings a similar depth of experience regarding Public Relations. Our Advisory Board also has two new members – Jacob Harold and Eric Walker. Jacob Harold is a Program Officer at the Hewlett Foundation who has a tremendous wealth of knowledge regarding the philanthropic marketplace and the world of information intermediaries. Eric Walker is an expert in international charities and performance measurement. Welcome aboard!

In our continuing work on the development of CN 2.0, we are now working on the second of our three step process to a new rating tool. Now that the Accountability and Transparency dimension has been added, we are taking the next few months to review our financial measures of charity performance. Our goal here is to consider critical feedback on our existing financial measures to see what, if anything needs to be added, removed or adjusted. We hope to have this second step of revamping our rating system completed by the fall of this year. Then it will be on to the final step – measuring the effectiveness and results of charities performance.

On a personal note, I recently completed the busiest three weeks of my entire career. During that time I gave 6 different presentations to audiences that included charity leaders, volunteers, students, fundraisers and others. You can see one of these presentations on my blog here. This intensive process of meeting many wonderful people and others, who are not so great, crystallized my thinking about the quality of leadership in the nonprofit sector. These realizations motivated me to write a blog entry called Gentle Giants and Emotional Intelligence in Charity Land. I hope you find it of interest.

All the best,
Ken Berger  

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