Disable all preview features

Charity Navigator Launches New Rating System

Half of Charities Receive New Star Ratings


Glen Rock, N.J. (September 20, 2011)- Charity Navigator today unveiled a more in-depth rating system refined to  continue providing charitable givers easy access to valuable information. Using the expanded and more in-depth rating system, fully half the charities evaluated (more than 2,700) received new star ratings.  By logging onto www.charitynavigator.org, donors can now determine which charities have “best practices” that minimize the chance of unethical activities and whether they freely share basic information about their organization to their donors and other stakeholders, along with the traditional Charity Navigator matrices.

“In these difficult economic times, we’re thrilled to give donors more information to help them determine which charities they support are efficient and accountable,” said Ken Berger, President & CEO of Charity Navigator. “So, for the first time since launching our charity rating service nearly 10 years ago, we’ve made a major enhancement to our rating system.  We know that donors will welcome this change as it gives them, more knowledge to do more good.”  

Charity Navigator’s evaluations of a charity’s Financial Health --- which examines how a charity manages its finances day to day and how financially well-positioned it is in order to sustain its programs over time --- have helped millions of donors make better giving decisions impacting billions of dollars of donations each year.  By adding this new Accountability & Transparency dimension to its rating system --- which tracks metrics such as whether the charity used an objective process to determine their CEO’s salary, whether it has an effective governance structure, and whether it has a whistleblower policy ---  Charity Navigator will help donors have even greater confidence in their charitable choices.  As a result of the new scoring system:

  • Half of the nearly 5,500 charities received new star ratings
  • 30% of the charities’ star rating improved
  • 19% of the charities’ star ratings decreased
  • With the bar set higher, the total number of 4-star charities decreased by 20%.
  • At the same time, charities with ratings of 3 stars (good) or better increased by 8%.


Some of the notable ratings changes include:

Old Rating
New Rating
Old Rating
New Rating
1 3 4 1
3 4 4 3
1 3 4 3
2 3 4 3
3 4 4 3

The new system was developed to further fulfill the purpose of Charity Navigator - to help charitable givers make wise decisions in choosing the charities that are most worthy of their donations. The presentation and format of the overall rating of charities, which combines both the old and new dimensions of the rating system, is unchanged. Therefore, many users of the system who simply want to quickly find out how many stars a charities receives overall (from 0 to 4), will have a familiar experience. At the same time, the power and depth of information behind the overall rating is now even more robust. Best of all, Charity Navigator continues to provide its ratings at no charge to web site users or the charities that are evaluated.

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 nearly 5,500 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

Join Our Mailing List

Join over 400,000 other informed givers and get updates on charity ratings, new features, hot topics, and tips for donating.