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President & CEO's Report for December

December 1, 2010


I hope you all had an opportunity to read the great article in the New York Times this past weekend regarding Charity Navigator’s plans for the future. The article had a few quotes and a photo of one of our founders - Pat Dugan (the other founder is his wife Marion Dugan!), but did not mention that we are in the process of transitioning from reliance on the Dugan family for our ongoing financial support. For the first six years of our operations, the Dugan family covered virtually all of our expenses. However, once we filed to become a public charity in 2007, we were tasked with diversifying our revenue. We have been diligently working these past few years to make this happen.

The Dugans request that the transition to other sources of revenue be completed in 2012. The generosity of our donors over the past few years, the advertising on our site, those who have responded to our site solicitations, corporate sponsorships, support from new Board members, growing Foundation support, among other efforts, have all been key to our success so far. As a result:

1. This year 31% of our revenues came from the Dugan family.
2. In 2011 we project that 17% of our revenue will come from the Dugan family.
3. As of 2012 we intend to no longer be reliant on the Dugan family for any operational revenue.

At the same time, as a gesture of extreme generosity and commitment to Charity Navigator, the Dugans will be giving us a gift of $1.5 million this month to kick off a campaign to raise $3 million to help complete this transition to sustainability and to implement CN 2.0. Roughly $1.3 million will be dedicated to the creation of an endowment (the other $200,000 will be used for 2011 operations, the 17% mentioned above in point 2). In our continuing effort to “walk the walk” and conform to the same standards to which we hold other charities, this will provide us with over a year of working capital reserves (required for most charities to get our highest rating on this measure of performance). This endowment may also become a source of revenue for ongoing operations if it grows beyond needed reserves.

We can never thank the Dugan family enough for their vision, leadership, commitment and tremendous generosity to launching and strengthening Charity Navigator over the years. Mr. Dugan has stated that the creation of Charity Navigator is the “best thing” he has ever done. It is an honor and privilege for me to be a part of what he has done and what he continues to do by leading our Board of Directors as our Board Chair.
We hope that all of you, will join Pat in this campaign to complete our transition to sustainability and to fully implement CN 2.0. In addition, we are looking for Board members who can help us with the wealth, wisdom and work that will be required to achieve our goals for the future (please email us at development @ charitynavigator.org if you would like to learn more).

Finally, thanks so much to all of you who have responded to our holiday appeal and to those of you who have supported us throughout the year. Have a wonderful holiday season!

All the best,
Ken Berger  

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